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ECB delay naming The Hundred teams until September... but identities will have modern cultural focus

SIMON HUGHES: The idea is for the team name to reflect a defining aspect of each city drawn from the stories of the residents and the area itself

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The ECB had their AGM on Tuesday, at which more information was divulged on The Hundred.

Part of this would have included details on the announcement on team names and logos, but this has now been postponed to September, partly so as not to distract from the World Cup and the Ashes but also because some of the details are still being finalised.

There has been much speculation about team identities and the danger of the name of a major city alienating potential fans who live in a neighbouring region. Research has been undertaken and many inhabitants of participating cities interviewed as part of the process, and the idea is for the team name to reflect a defining aspect of each city drawn from the stories of the residents and the area itself. 

On this week’s Analyst podcast we discuss how that idea might work (suggestions on a postcard please).  It certainly adds a potentially intriguing cultural dimension to the identity of the teams which will help in developing local allegiance. 

There have been many letters and emails to The Cricketer (and to me) expressing discontent at The Hundred. Most start with ‘why do we need it?’

The board outline the main reason - to grow the game - and have established three barriers to that growth amongst potential followers.

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The ECB are trying to attract new fans

They are:

1. Complexity - a vast swathe of the population don’t understand cricket.

2. Time - since T20 was invented in 2003 people’s leisure time (and teenager’s concentration span) has contracted. 

3. Relevance - even T20 cricket is still regarded as predominantly white, middle class and a booze fest. Many people feel alienated from it. 

So the idea was to shorten and simplify the game, and only a new format would attract major broadcast investment and terrestrial buy-in.

The new TV deal is worth more than double the previous one, and much of that money will be given to the counties and spent on marketing all competitions (not just The Hundred). 

Those county dissenters who feel that it is unnecessary and an unwanted distraction to their successful T20 operation like to look further afield and see the problems in the game overall which this project is aimed to address. 

Alternatively you could draw hope and encouragement from the drinks world. Scrumpy Jack cider had a strong market position in the early 2000s. They feared competition from Magners who entered the fray in 2009. But Magners were imaginative, developed many different flavoured ciders. Cider became cool and Scrumpy Jack’s business boomed.

The aim is for the Hundred to have the same effect on our beloved game.

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