ICC praise for Hong Kong T20 Blitz: 11.8 million views worldwide
World governing body says others can learn from local organisers, who belied their status as an associate member
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has praised Hong Kong for staging the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz, with official figures revealing that millions of cricket fans around the world watched the tournament live from March 8-12。
Cricket Hong Kong said on Wednesday that viewership numbers wildly surpassed targets, with 11.8 million views on Facebook and YouTube across five days – firmly establishing the tournament on the global Twenty20 calendar. Last year’s rain-shortened, three-day event garnered 51,000 views.
Significantly, the number of people watching in Hong Kong rose to 146,000 online, from 8,000 last year, while the weekend was sold out with about 2,000 turning up at the Mission Road grounds each day.
“I was thoroughly impressed not only with the quality of the stream but with the attention to detail of the tournament,” said ICC head of global development William Glenright.
“The Hong Kong T20 Blitz reflected the quality and professionalism of a member association that we can – and should – learn from.
“That the tournament was so successfully delivered by an associate member is particularly impressive. [Hong Kong] demonstrated a capacity and an eagerness to attract more international competitions to Hong Kong which is something we want to encourage amongst our associate members.”
Hong Kong is the first associate member territory to organise an international T20 on such a scale, attracting world-class players such as West Indians Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Smith, along with Sri Lankans Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan and England’s Chris Jordan and Ian Bell, among others.
The tournament was won by Kowloon Cantons, who beat City Kaitak in the final.
Of the 11.8 million views, about 8.4 million were watching live while the remaining 3.4 million watched the videos on demand.
“The numbers have been mind-blowing,” Cricket Hong Kong CEO Tim Cutler said. “As an organisation we are extremely proud to have attracted such a wide audience with virtually no marketing spend and a broadcast budget that would not have come close to equaling the cost of one international T20 match, let alone 11 like we covered.
“It shows there is still huge potential for growth, while at the same time proving there is great appetite and point of difference to our tournament.
“We’re delighted to achieve these results while remaining resourceful with what we have and now we have a platform to take this tournament to another level in 2018.
“Naturally, the next step will be a television broadcast while also increasing our commercial portfolio.”