The England Cricket Board (ECB) is the national governing body for all cricket in England and Wales. It aims to get more people involved in cricket, from grassroots to professional level. It works across the UK with first class counties, county cricket boards and others to promote the game.
The ECB wanted to understand what people wanted from a recreational cricket experience. They were concerned from other research that recreational cricket players’ needs weren’t being met by the existing cricket opportunities.
In particular, they needed to understand the diversity of the recreational cricket player population including groups not commonly represented on online panels, for example the South Asian population and 16-18 year olds.
ECB commissioned Populus to undertake research exploring the opportunities in the recreational playing landscape. Populus mapped out outcomes by opportunity space from both a player and occasion perspective, giving ECB valuable insight into the process for establishing play opportunities.
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, increasing engagement and repositioning cricket.
Populus carried out a robust study of over 15,000 people, including boosts for younger audiences and South Asians.
Populus used innovative sampling strategy to access areas of the UK with a high penetration of South Asians, which could not be represented on online panels. We used big data techniques to map the cricket landscape across the country.
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.
Populus’s research gave ECB a clear direction on opportunity spaces strategy, at every stage. The research gave ECB robust answers in order to effectively answer key business questions.
The research and approach allowed ECB to agree an approach to lapsed and lapsing players, developing an engagement plan and laying the foundations for future growth; focused on repositioning cricket to achieve strategic goals.
Commenting on the research, Samuel Carter, Senior Insights Manager, England and Wales Cricket Board, said:
“We commissioned Populus, to help us map the recreational cricket landscape from both a player and occasion perspective.
It was a hugely important project to us and statistically very difficult. We wanted a research partner that would not only handle the technical side of things but who we could rely on to help us develop the landscape and communicate it to the rest of the business.
Duncan, Tom and the team did a great job from start to finish, navigating the challenges along the way with an authentic commitment to what we were trying to achieve.
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.
You have without doubt have had significant impact on the future of cricket.”