With more than 25,000 respondents the County Research Study conducted by Populus reinforced the key findings of the Morgan Review in particular the need to provide regular scheduling for County cricket.
The ECB Board noted the strong desire from Counties and spectators to create an ‘appointment to view’ for T20 cricket spread over a longer period of the season. There was no compelling preference from spectators for 40 over cricket rather than 50 over cricket and therefore the format from 2014 will replicate the 50 over format played by the national team.
Consistent with feedback from the players there was a strong desire to retain the LV County Championship in two Divisions of nine teams.
The ECB Board has therefore agreed that for the period 2014 – 2017 the format of the domestic season should be as follows:
LV=County Championship – retained as two Divisions of nine teams with two teams promoted and relegated each season with the first 14 slots commencing on Sundays.
Friends Life t20 – 14 matches per County, mostly played on Friday evenings, with the top eight Counties progressing to a quarter-final round and the retention of the popular FLt20 Finals Day format.
Clydesdale Bank 50 – a total of eight group matches per County with eight teams progressing to a Quarter-Final round and played in a format consistent with ICC approved international cricket of 50 overs per team.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier commented: “The research study conducted by Populus was the largest piece of market research ever conducted on County cricket. The results provided objective evidence for the Board concerning the preferences of spectators in support of the conclusions reached in the Morgan Review. The Board agreed with the views of spectators and players in retaining a 16 match LV County Championship which has proven very successful since its introduction in 2000.”
The Board expressed its thanks to David Morgan for the detailed review of county cricket and looks forward to the revised structure of the first class game for seasons 2014 – 2017.
Derbyshire Chief Executive Simon Storey said: ''Given the many interests that need to be considered when planning the cricketing calendar, the 2014 schedule provides some important wins for the cricket consumer and county clubs. Predictability of Friends Life t20 starts on a Friday and Sunday starts for LV= County Championship cricket has to be good for our members and supporters whilst we will work hard to ensure the peak summer Clydesdale Bank 50 slots continue to attract a broad one-day audience.''
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