Cricket’s new The Hundred series is aiming to drive interest and ticket sales through high-profile music concerts at games and an innovative partnership with Lego.
The inaugural edition of the short-format competition is set to welcome a star-studded music line-up for fixtures, marking what organisers claim as the biggest music and sport collaboration in UK history.
The 100-ball competition, designed to open cricket up to more families and young people, kicks off on July 21 just days after lockdown restrictions are due to be lifted.
The Hundred has teamed up with BBC Music Introducing to bring live music and DJs at each of the 64 games, combining fast-paced cricket with live music.
English singer-songwriter Jack Garratt has been unveiled as the headliner for The Hundred men’s opening game at the Kia Oval on July 22, while musician Jake Bugg will be performing at his local ground Trent Bridge on July 24.
UK rap artist Lady Leshurr will be taking to the stage in her hometown of Birmingham on August 1, while Manchester festival legends Everything Everything will appear at Emirates Old Trafford on the 10 August.
Sanjay Patel, The Hundred managing director, said: “We’re delighted to announce more big-name artists including Lady Leshurr, Everything Everything and Jack Garratt in collaboration with BBC Music Introducing, providing a ground-breaking music programme as part of The Hundred.
“It’s mixing sport and music in a way that’s not been done before in the UK. Our music line up, coupled with world-class cricket on the pitch, is sure to provide an entertaining day out for the whole family.”
The Hundred is also hoping to drive ticket sales and interest through a partnership with Lego.
The new partnership will include a video where Lego Minifigures of Andrew Flintoff, Ebony Rainford-Brent and a host of stars from The Hundred will highlight the new competition while introducing fans to the new rules and format.
The Hundred will kick off with a standalone women’s match between the Oval Invincibles and the Manchester Originals. The competition will ensure men’s and women’s cricket is played on a shared platform, with equal prize money and a host of female cricket players and artists taking centre stage, broadcast live across Sky and the BBC.
It will be the first time a major UK team sporting event has launched men’s and women’s competitions alongside each other, headlined with a women’s match.
Although it has proven controversial amongst traditionalists, The Hundred aims to make cricket more accessible to families and young people by fusing world-class, fast-paced cricket with family-friendly entertainment off the pitch.
It features eight brand new teams based in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton and two in London. The ECB in April confirmed that The Hundred would debut in the summer of 2021 and not last year as originally planned. The ECB board decided that it was not possible for the competition to be staged in 2020 due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by COVID-19.