England Women to get same match fees as men after Ashes summer boosts profile

England Women’s players are to receive the same match fees as the men’s team after a thrilling Ashes summer boosted their profile.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced payments to Heather Knight’s side are being brought into line with those made to Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and their team-mates in the wake of record crowds and increased viewing figures.

The increase will take effect immediately, starting with this week’s Vitality IT20 series against Sri Lanka.

ECB chief executive officer Richard Gould said: “This summer’s thrilling Metro Bank Women’s Ashes series demonstrated how women’s cricket is continuing to grow at pace in this country, with record attendances and TV viewing.

“Growing the women’s and girls’ game is a key priority for us and in recent years we have considerably increased investment both in building a domestic women’s structure to produce the players of the future and in increasing player rewards.

“In the years ahead, we will continue to invest ahead of revenues. We are currently considering all the recommendations made by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, but equalising match fees is one immediate step we are pleased to make now.

“We all want cricket to be the team sport of choice for female athletes and – with the investments we are making and increasingly-lucrative opportunities around the world – we are seeing cricketers become some of the highest earning female athletes in UK team sports.

“However, we know there is still much further to go as we ultimately strive for equality across the game.

“As we continue to grow women’s cricket, we will continue to focus on making considered investments that stretch far-and-wide across the women’s cricket structures, delivering a thriving, profitable and future-proofed game.”

Australia retained the Ashes after a hard-fought drawn series
Australia retained the Ashes after a hard-fought drawn series (Steven Paston/PA)

A total of 110,00 people watched the drawn summer series, which saw Australia retain the Ashes in front of crowds of 19,527 at Edgbaston, 20,328 at the Kia Oval and 21,610 at Lord’s which set successive new records for a home England Women bilateral fixture, while 23,207 tickets were sold for the five days of the Trent Bridge Test.

Broadcast viewing figures of 5.3 million, in addition to 47 million video views, were double those in 2019.

England skipper Knight said: “It’s really important that we continue to drive the women’s game forward and it’s fantastic to see equal match fees for England Women and England Men.

“The direction of travel for the women’s game has always been the most important thing, creating a sustainable product that people want to watch and play and I’m sure this will make cricket an increasingly-attractive sport to girls and young women as we continue to grow the game.

England captain Heather Knight batting during the third one day international of the Women's Ashes Series
Captain Knight’s (right) England drew the Women’s Ashes Series (Steven Paston/PA)

“I would also like to thank the PCA and England Women’s Player Partnership for their support in representing the players and the growth of the professional game.”

The ECB currently funds 80 professional women’s domestic cricketers in addition to its 18 England Women’s centrally-contracted players.

Last year, the governing body announced a GBP 3.5milion increase in funding for the women’s regional game to run until the end of 2024, while the salary pot per team was raised to GBP 250,000, meaning the average salary for a women’s regional cricketer will be GBP 25,000.