The International Cricket Council today substantially increased the prize money for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 to $2 million and unveiled unprecedented broadcast plans for the tournament as part of its long term ambition to bring parity to the women’s game.
The ICC Board unanimously backed the move as it committed to accelerate the global development of women’s cricket. It signaled its intent to move towards equality across the game within 15 years and a blueprint for growth and sustainability will be launched later this year.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson: “The ICC Women’s World Cup is the pinnacle of the women’s game and as such the players should be rewarded appropriately. Two million dollars is the first step towards greater parity and recognition. The prize fund for the 2013 edition was just $200,000, and this announcement shows a greater level of commitment than ever before.
“The change will not happen overnight but the women’s game is crucial to the global growth of cricket. There is undoubtedly an audience for it – there were almost 18 million views of highlights of the Women’s World Cup Qualifier earlier this year – and we need to grow that further. There is greater depth in the women’s game and that is leading to increased competitiveness which is what fans want to see.
“We think the Women’s World Cup this summer will be a turning point in the history of the game. There is growing interest globally in women’s sports and we want cricket to be front and centre of this and lead by example.”
In a second significant commitment to the global growth of the women’s game, the ICC also confirmed that for the first time in the history of the ICC Women’s World Cup, this year’s tournament in England and Wales will see every ball of every game being covered live.
As part of a comprehensive coverage plan of the eight-team tournament, 10 matches will be broadcast live on television with DRS being introduced into the women’s game for the first time and the remaining 21 matches live-streamed.
The television broadcasts, which will include the two semifinals and the final, will be covered with the help of 30 cameras. This includes, eight Hawk-Eye cameras which will be employed at each broadcast game for Ultra-motion ball-tracking that will enable a detailed analysis of the game.
The final at Lord’s on 23 July will provide a different level of experience with a drone camera and a Spidercam being deployed to capture different angles, something never seen before in women’s cricket or indeed at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s.
Other broadcast enhancements include a fresh new graphics look designed by creative design agency DixonBaxi, which will be brought alive on screen by scoring and graphics output specialists Alston Elliott. The ICC TV live broadcast will be supported by Sunset+Vine for production services and NEP Broadcast Solutions for equipment services.
The narrative for the matches too will be world-class with the presence of an array of renowned commentators including former England captain and Women’s World Cup winner Charlotte Edwards. Other women players in the commentary box will include two other World Cup winners in Lisa Sthalekar and Melanie Jones, and former India captain Anjum Chopra.
Renowned English sports broadcaster Alison Mitchell will be another female voice while experienced commentators Alan Wilkins, Ian Bishop and Sanjay Manjrekar will also lend their perspective to fans.
Clare Connor, Chair of ICC Women’s Committee said: “I am delighted with the commitment shown to the growth of the women’s game by the ICC. The significant uplift in prize money since 2013 and the ambition of future parity, along with every game being broadcast is a huge moment for the sport.
“To recognize the players in this way demonstrates the value women’s cricket can add to the game globally and I know we’ll see some exceptional cricket this summer that can grow our fan-base around the world”
Charlotte Edwards: “I am really excited to be part of the ICC commentary team for what should be a brilliant ICC Cricket World Cup here in England this summer. I remember the excitement of representing England as a player in the World Cup and to be part of the commentary team for this tournament is a real honour.”
Lisa Sthalekar: “I am delighted to be on the commentary team for the 2017 Women’s World Cup. It’s such an exciting time for women’s cricket and so to be calling the action on their biggest stage will be a real thrill. With the growing professionalism in the women’s game, there’s no better stage to showcase how far it has come in such a short period. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Ian Bishop: “Over the last few years, the women’s game has grown exponentially in its skill, competitiveness and the excitement factor. I believe it has even greater scope to do so in the coming years. The talent gap is closing amongst the teams. I am truly excited to be part of an exciting commentary team to help convey the story of its continued historic development.”
A pre-game show, an innings break show and a post-game show will encapsulate different facets of the game. The build-up will begin 30 minutes before the start of play and include the toss, pitch report and match previews. The innings break will feature highlights and innings analysis. A match day will end with a show reviewing the game that day.
The coverage of each game of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, which features defending champion Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, will be supplemented with team features, player profiles and behind-the-scenes content in an effort to bring fans closer to the game.
The 21 matches that will be live-streamed, will also feature multi-camera coverage with commentary and graphics which will be in line with ICC’s strategic plan to promote the women’s game.