BBC and Sky under fire over 'unreadable' on-screen Hundred graphics

·2-min read
The Hundred graphics crowded the screen for viewers - BBC
The Hundred graphics crowded the screen for viewers - BBC

Broadcasters plan to continue using the same on-air graphics for the duration of the Hundred despite widespread criticism of the graphics on the opening night of the new competition.

The new graphics, which are designed to be simpler for new cricket fans to understand, were attacked as being too confusing to follow, with the team’s runs scored, or required, on one side of the screen and the team’s balls remaining on the other. Many viewers said that, with a third set of numbers at the bottom of the middle of the screen - the individual totals of the batters on strike - it was too difficult to work out the situation in the game.

But Telegraph Sport understands that at this stage the broadcasters, the BBC and Sky Sports, and the England & Wales Cricket Board plan to continue using the graphics. More attempts may be made to explain the graphics in subsequent matches, enabling viewers tuning in during a game to pick up the match situation as quickly as possible.

“Some pleasingly rubbish 1980s graphics to appeal to people in their mid-40s like me,” said Andy Zaltzman, the comedian and scorer for BBC Test Match Special. Other Twitter users called the graphics “an eyesore”, “horrible”, “awful and confusing” and “completely unreadable”.

The criticism of the on-air graphics could not detract from a successful opening night of the Hundred. The opening game, the women’s match between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals, had viewing figures which peaked at 1.6 million on the BBC, with a further 180,000 people streaming the game live on BBC iPlayer - a record for any women’s cricket match on the BBC. It is also understood the Hundred match between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals attracted an audience share higher than BBC One at 9pm as the match reached its exciting climax.

The total viewing figures on the BBC were only fractionally short of the peak of 1.7 million who watched England’s men Twenty20 fixture with Pakistan last Sunday on the BBC. Across all channels, 3.8 million are estimated to have watched some of the match last night, with one-third of those viewers female.

The figures will delight the ECB who have faced years of criticism over locking cricket away behind the Sky paywall. There are only ten of 32 men’s matches live on the BBC and eight from the women’s tournament but the ECB will see those as crucial for building a following away from the mainstream cricket audience.

The launch also coincided with the busiest day of ticket sales since they were put on general sale. More than 11,000 tickets were bought for remaining matches across the competition after viewers saw it for the first time.