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Ashes set attendance firsts

Emirates Old Trafford hosts the 2023 Ashes Test between England and Australia

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

Emirates Old Trafford hosts the 2023 Ashes Test between England and Australia

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has reported new attendance landmarks for this summer’s men’s and women’s Ashes series, which were promoted side-by-side for the first time.

The release of the figures follows the conclusion of the 2023 men’s Ashes campaign at the Kia Oval on Monday, as England secured a 49-run win over Australia, completing a comeback from 2-0 down to level the Test series, albeit with the tourists retaining the famous urn.

The fifth and final men’s Test saw total attendances for both series hit 655,000. Every day of the men’s series sold out in advance – something that wasn’t achieved in either of the most recent series in England (2019) or the home team’s thrilling win in the 2005 series.

The total attendance for the men’s series was 545,000, with the ECB stating that this was higher than any recent Ashes series, 8% greater than the last series in 2019, and 14% up on the 2005 series.

The average daily men’s attendance was 23,734 across the five venues – Edgbaston, Lord’s, Headingley, Emirates Old Trafford and the Kia Oval – also higher than any recent series.

A further 110,000 fans were in stadia for the women’s Ashes, 4.5 times higher than the 2019 series. The one-day international (ODI) series sold out – a first for an England women’s series.

The 2023 Ashes was the first series to have the men’s and women’s fixtures promoted side by side in a singular campaign, through the ‘Ashes, Two Ashes’ campaign. The ECB said that over a third (33.5%) of ticket buyers for the women’s Ashes were women.

Richard Gould, ECB chief executive, said today (Wednesday): “The 2023 summer will go down as one of the most enthralling we’ve seen. The Ashes has captivated the public imagination once again, but this time it has been different, with the women’s and men’s series taking equal billing and fans being treated to some stunning cricket throughout.

“Although both series were drawn, we have been able to enjoy double white-ball series wins for the women’s team and a men’s team who have changed Test cricket, ‘walking the walk’ as (captain) Ben Stokes has said, and getting so close to staging the most remarkable comeback.

“Fans up and down the country have responded to support the players, breaking attendance and viewing figures along the way. 110,000 attended the women’s Metro Bank Ashes – 4.5 times more fans than in 2019, with sell-out crowds, something also seen in the men’s series.

“On TV and online, we have again seen incredible interest, demonstrating that the love for cricket in England and Wales is as strong as ever, and that Test cricket is still as relevant as ever.”

The ECB announced in June that the 2027 men’s Ashes series will take place at Lord’s (Middlesex), the Kia Oval (Surrey), Edgbaston (Warwickshire), Trent Bridge (Nottinghamshire) and, for the first time, the Ageas Bowl (Hampshire).

Trent Bridge will therefore be the northernmost venue and the decision to exclude Emirates Old Trafford and Headingley has irked cricket fans in the north of England.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, last month urged the ECB to rethink its host venue plan after the omission of both Emirates Old Trafford and Headingley.