Ticket sales for English county cricket’s Twenty20 Blast league skyrocketed in 2019, with almost 950,000 fans in attendance over the season.
The T20 Blast, which involves 18 county sides playing 133 games, has seen average attendances rise by 47 per cent over the past five years.
This year’s final took place at Edgbaston on Saturday, with Essex Eagles beating Worcestershire Rapids.
The 65,000 advanced tickets sold in the first week of the season was the most in the 17 summers since English cricket’s first professional T20 tournament began.
Middlesex’s derby against Surrey at Lord’s on August 8 recorded an attendance of 27,773, which is the highest for an English domestic Twenty20 match ever.
North Group winners Lancashire notched a 34 per cent increase to 95,319 in 2019, including a 23,500-fan Roses sell-out against Yorkshire.
Surrey chief executive Richard Gould told BBC Radio London: “People really want to come to cricket matches.
“There is no doubt that England’s World Cup win, then the excitement surrounding the Ashes Test series has provided cricket with a lot more profile. But we were on track for record sales – in terms of our advance sales – even before the World Cup finished.
“Across both the South and North Groups, more and more people are enjoying their experience of attending Blast games and watching their local counties.”
Surrey chairman Richard Thompson told BBC Test Match Special that in 2019, 50 per cent of its T20 ticket-buyers were brand new to cricket, while 60 per cent were new to T20.
The announcement comes just a year before the England and Wales Cricket Board plans to launch its new 100-ball tournament. The shorter, faster format has two teams each having a single innings, which is restricted to a maximum of 100 balls. The Hundred, which will feature eight new city-based teams, is expected to be played in July and August.