“You have without doubt had a significant impact on the future of cricket.

The insights from the work were taken all the way up to our board and are now foundational to our strategy moving forward.

We are really pleased with the output and the seismic shift in our understanding of our audience.”

Samuel Carter, Senior Insights Manager, England and Wales Cricket Board.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had a problem.

Recreational cricket players weren’t always getting what they needed from existing cricket playing opportunities. The ECB wanted to get to the heart of what people really wanted from a recreational cricket experience, in 2018 and beyond.

They needed a foundational strategy comprised of insight-driven understanding of the cricket playing landscape. Populus delivered this, and as a result, the ECB has been able to:

The insight Populus delivered will continue to help shape cricket for years to come, directing the significant investment the ECB makes in the recreational game, from development of facilities to supporting clubs and leagues. Here’s how we got there.

The challenge was huge.

The ECB needed to enable strategic decision-making to safeguard the future of UK cricket.

Their main aims:

  1. To inform and enable strategic decision-making regarding new propositions to engage new and existing cricket players
  2. To map out opportunity spaces in the recreational playing landscape from both a player and occasion perspective
  3. To develop and communicate the landscape to the ECB, diffusing insight throughout the business including up to board level
  4. To make cricket inclusive and accessible for a breadth of audiences

That’s where Populus stepped in

We undertook comprehensive analysis, using innovative statistical modelling and weighting, to describe the landscape at both a player and playing occasion level.

We mapped the playing landscape to the ECB’s existing segments, providing a detailed understanding of cricket-playing across all respondents, which the ECB could confidently incorporate into its strategy. This in places both challenged and confirmed the ECB’s prior understanding of its market.

From the outset, the project was built around key senior stakeholders to inform and enable decision-making.

The research team acted as an extension of the insight function, working closely with senior stakeholders. Three workshops with senior decision-makers were held where the research team fed back on progress and aided stakeholders’ decision-making strategy with a focus on attracting lapsed and lapsing players, and increasing engagement.

The result?

Research-infused strategy to engage lapsed to attract and retain the next generation of cricket, and beyond.

The research identified a series of opportunity spaces pinpointing where there was an interest or desire to play cricket in a particular way. It also provided specific outcomes for how to capitalise on each opportunity space, such as the repositioning of current offerings.

Opportunity spaces strategy? Our research gave a clear direction at every stage.

Key business questions? Answered, by robust insight with impact.

Future growth? Secured, with a solid engagement plan for lapsed and lapsing players.

The foundations for the future have been set. There was no department at the ECB left untouched by the research. The Insights Team  now evaluate and monitor new products based on it, a cross-section of departments now collaborate with the Participation and Growth team in creating and developing new formats as a result of it. The marketing department has a clear understanding of players’ desires.

The research will help reach and engage two million new players; new players, who have the chance to experience one of the country’s greatest sports.