Kevin Pietersen has given his support to the idea of private investment into The Hundred, saying that the tournament “needs to strive to be the second-biggest franchise tournament in the world”.
Currently, all eight teams in The Hundred are centrally owned by the ECB, with the salaries of the players and coaches paid by English cricket’s governing body. This is in contrast to many other franchise T20 leagues around the world, with new competitions in the UAE and South Africa set to launch this winter featuring significant private funding.
The tournaments are set to be the two most lucrative in terms of player salaries after the Indian Premier League, with Pietersen believing that, if The Hundred is to establish itself as one of the best competitions in the world, then it must be able to compete financially with the rest.
“The Hundred was quality,” he wrote for Betway Insider. “Great crowds, great atmosphere, great cricket and dramatic finale to the men’s final to top things off. There are still things that they need to sort out to keep growing the event, though.
“I think private ownership needs to come into play as soon as possible. Now that the ECB have decided to move the Ashes to keep August clear in the calendar, they have a chance to make this huge. Private ownership would allow the money to go up, meaning that the best players prioritise this event and want to stay for the entirety.
“At the end of the day, they’re guns for hire. That’s the nature of the beast. The Big Bash, and the new South Africa and Dubai T20 tournaments are paying their players handsomely, so The Hundred must keep up. It needs to strive to be the second-biggest franchise tournament in the world, behind the IPL.”
Pietersen is far from the first to advocate for private investment into The Hundred, with incoming ECB chair Richard Thompson recently refusing to rule out the idea. “There’s a lot of private equity out there at the moment and it’s inevitable it will happen in English cricket,” he told the Daily Mail. “I’m expecting there to be some interest. I think we need to be strategic about the way we go about that.
“We’re only two years into this and it would be very easy to have our heads turned, but we have to make the right call on this. If the right approach is made, or we decide as a game that we should realise the value of what we’ve created, then we should ensure we get the benefit of that.”
Pietersen is also an advocate for a radical franchise restructuring of English first-class cricket.