With a full house expected at Edgbaston this Saturday for the Twenty20 Cup finals day, figures released today by the ECB show that this year's competition has been even more popular than last summer.
Even though a new quarter-final section was introduced this year, three of the qualifying games were washed out, meaning only one more game was included in the calculations, which revealed a 12% increase in attendances compared to last year. The average attendance rose from 5,327 to 5,798, while 11 matches were completely sold out. The biggest crowd of the season was at Lord's, where 26,500 watched Middlesex take on Surrey.
"These are very positive figures which were achieved despite the indifferent weather we have had," Tom Harrison, the ECB's commercial director, said. "The reason for this was a huge increase in advance ticket sales for games, real interest from the public to watch Twenty20 cricket, and the introduction of the quarter-final stage, which was well received by broadcasters and the public alike. It has been an excellent second year for the competition so far."
The finals day kicks off with the first semi-final between Surrey, last year's winners, and Lancashire at 11.30am, while Glamorgan and Leicestershire will fight out the second semi at 3pm. However, in between those two games, there will be the first npower Derby, when 17 mascots from around the country will race each other.
Meanwhile, the hour and a half space between the second semi and the final, which starts at 7.15pm, will be filled by pop band Liberty X and solo singer Natasha Bedingfield.