🏏 The bat and ball business


In today's email, we've got:

  • big money offered to grow cricket

  • Meta looking for protection from the UK government

  • the difference between "i.e." and "e.g." in 60 seconds

If you take just one thing from this email...

Private equity investment into sport is becoming more common. This is because there's money to be made for investors. External investment can help sports out by giving them more funding to improve things at all levels. But it also means that some decisions (e.g. when a tournament is played) can be driven by money as opposed to the traditions of the game.


This week's featured report is about cricket, written by someone who knows nothing about cricket (me).

If you're the same as me, don't worry!We decided to cover this story because the investor is a private equity company. This raises good commercial points to discuss.

But from researching for this report, I learned more about the story (and about this new form of cricket). As I learned more, I was more interested by the subject matter.

I think there's something worth remembering in that. If you don't have much of an interest in something, spend time trying to understand it. As you raise your level of understanding, you can raise your level of interest too!

- Idin


🏏 The bat and ball business

Credit: Giphy

What's going on here?

A private equity company has offered £400m to The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to buy a 75% stake in the Hundred (the newest format of cricket).

What is the Hundred?

The Hundred is the newest format of cricket which has been designed to be super exciting and simple to follow. This is to make the game more accessible and attract new cricket fans.

There are eight teams from around the UK (which have been strategically picked to make it easy for anyone to make it to a game wherever you are). And it’s called ‘the Hundred’ because in a game, each team bowls exactly 100 balls in an innings. This makes the games shorter, more action-packed and more entertaining.

What's in it for the ECB?

Bridgepoint Group's (Bridgepoint) bid for a majority stake in the Hundred has been called a “game-changing” moment for the sport.

If the deal goes ahead, the ECB will welcome a load of money being pumped into the sport. Any money that comes in can benefit the the game of cricket at all levels, particularly as many clubs have struggled financially since the Covid-19 pandemic.

What’s in it for Bridgepoint?

Bridgepoint is a London listed private equity company and what they’re looking for from this deal is a return on their investment (in other words, money).

The way private equity works is this:

  1. A private equity firm finds a private company that has potential to grow a lot.

  2. They invest money into the company and (usually) take a majority stake in that business.

  3. They work to increase its value over time (e.g. by changing management or merging with other companies to improve efficiency).

  4. Once it’s nice and valuable, they look to sell the company for a profit.

Simple, right?

The Hundred is only in its second ever year running but its popularity is headed in the right direction. This year, more than 500,000 people went to the matches in person and there was a record-setting 271,000 people attending the women's matches.

More than 14m watched at least some of the tournament on Sky Sports (although these numbers were down on last year).

Bridgepoint's looking to accelerate investment into English cricket (focusing on the women’s game too). If the offer is accepted, Bridgepoint will hope that the money helps grow the popularity of the competition (e.g. by attracting the biggest players) to eventually give it the chance to ‘cash out’ with a big return.

Is this a new idea?

It’s something new for English cricket as the ECB has never let private investment into the sport. But, more generally, this isn’t too new.

Last year, CVC Capital Partners (another private equity firm) did a $509m deal to buy a chunk of rugby’s Six Nations tournament.

Bridgepoint itself has been investing into sports for a while. For a long time, it owned MotoGP motorcycle racing and it recently tried (and failed) to invest in the Women's Super League in football.

External investment into sports is becoming more of an inevitability as it looks like there’s clearly money to be made.

But some of cricket fans aren’t so sure about this investment. It’ll mean the investors call the shots (not the cricket-lovers) who could make changes to maximise their profit (e.g. changing the schedule of the tournaments to line it up with school holidays).

Maybe some of their choices might not always align with the spirit of the game.


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Spot the sport

It's been a sporty newsletter this week. So, here's a simple quiz.

The lines below show the search popularity of rugby and cricket on Google since 2004.

Try to guess which line represents rugby and which one is cricket.

Credit: Google Trends

Scroll down to the bottom to see the answers. 👀


  • ⚖️ A solicitors is suspended over how they used social media: This isn't a scare story about law firms looking at your teenage Facebook statuses. Here, a solicitor made up a bunch of lies about their firm winning cases that they weren't involved in at all. They solicitor said that these posts were meant to be "pure marketing". One lesson to learn, don't lie as a lawyer.

  • 💻 Meta (Facebook's parent company) has asked the UK government for protection: The UK government's heavily criticised proposal to delete up to 4,000 EU laws will impact everything from animal testing of cosmetics to holiday pay and passenger compensation rights. Meta has asked that the laws affecting social media are “explicitly maintained elsewhere”. If they are deleted, the social media company says that it will be “less likely to operate in the UK”.

  • 👔 Frasers Group (the owner of Sports Direct) has bought the historic Savile Row suit shop Gieves & Hawkes: The purchase of Gieves & Hawkes (one of the oldest bespoke tailoring companies) has come after the collapse of its previous Hong-Kong-based owner, which entered into liquidation last year.


  • 📜 Time travel: You can use this site to see which words appeared in print in any given year. Check it against the year you were born.

  • 👀 Applications: Improve your legal interview skills with a free simulated interview with up to 75 specific questions for law. This website will give you AI feedback and coaching advice on how to perform at your best.*

  • 💬 Grammar: If you ever get confused on when to use "i.e." and when it should be "e.g.", check out this one-minute video.

* This is sponsored content

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Quiz Answers:

Blue = cricket

Red = rugby