A private equity firm has made a 400 million pound sterling bid for a 75 percent stake in English cricket’s unique product The Hundred, according to media reports in England this weekend.
Bridgepoint Group, the London-listed buyout firm, has approached the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with an offer to acquire a controlling stake in the 100-ball format competition, Sky News reported on Sunday.
A source close to the ECB told the media house this weekend that Bridgepoint had proposed buying a 75% stake in The Hundred, potentially injecting £300m of new money into English cricket, the report said.
“One insider described the offer from Bridgepoint as ‘game-changing’, and suggested it was likely to win widespread support from county chairs,” said the report.
According to the report, if the deal were to progress, each of the 18 counties would get a substantial sum at a time when many of them are in deep financial strife, which had deepened in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With T20 cricket gaining popularity, the ECB introduced The Hundred two seasons ago to brand a new revenue stream as leagues like Indian Premier League (IPL) were gaining more prominence, The ECB had started The Hundred to wean itself off its dependence on international cricket as the game’s primary breadwinner. There was also a feeling that the Twenty20 match was a bit longer for sports fans habitual of watching 90 minutes football matches.
However, the reports suggested that the ECB is most likely to reject the bid as it does not want to cede control of the tournament so early.