Finding balance with the Big Bash

Andrew Cammarano Roar Rookie

By Andrew Cammarano, Andrew Cammarano is a Roar Rookie

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    The Big Bash continues to go from strength to strength. Or so it seems.

    Crowd attendance has grown from about 15,000 spectators per game for the 2012-13 season to a touch over 30,000 last season. And with Optus Stadium soon to become the home ground for the current champs in the Scorchers, attendance figures are likely to rise again.

    The 60,000-seat facility monsters the antiquated WACA that holds a paltry 25,000.

    The tournament continues to grow it’s TV audience too. The average audience for the 2014-15 season was 943,000 and only a season later it was 1.13 million – an 18 per cent increase.

    Channel Ten’s contract ends this season and there’ll be fierce competition for the rights of BBL08 and beyond.

    But to expect this growth to continue is wishful thinking. The statistics show a plateau – and even a slight dip – in attendance and TV audience numbers for this season. Though, we’ll have to wait until the season’s end to have a more accurate comparison given the difference in fixtures.

    Cricket Australia seems to think that expanding the competition is the way forward. Though this is most definitely shortsighted – not just for the tournament itself but for Australian cricket at large.

    This season includes ten regular fixture games per team – up from eight compared to previous seasons. A consequence of this is a greater dichotomy between the dominant and the struggling sides. This means more dead-rubbers and games that fizzle rather than ignite.

    Cricket relies on the contest and when that’s lost it becomes nothing more than people chasing a ball around an oval.

    Also, the BBL detracts from the other formats of the game. Already the domestic one- and four-day competitions have been pushed to the periphery of the Australian summer and even the international fixtures lose some of their shine.

    What message is Cricket Australia sending? Their words speak of the importance of maintaining the tradition of the game but their actions are quite contrary. It’s no coincidence that Australia hasn’t unearthed any genuine gems for the longer format of the game – particularly when it comes to batting.

    The Big Bash League holds an important place in the Australian summer. But it needs to remain a compact competition to retain its impact.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • January 20th 2018 @ 8:19am
      peeko said | January 20th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      is the BB going from “strength to strength”? your argument seems to be based off o=numbers from the past 2 seasons, not this season

      • Roar Rookie

        January 20th 2018 @ 10:04am
        Andrew Cammarano said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Good point, peeko. The numbers for this season are incomplete and we’ll have a better idea of the overall trend at this season’s end.

    • January 20th 2018 @ 9:18am
      Gurudoright said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      I agree with the point that less games evens out the table. Supporters in most comps start to lose interest once their team has no chance of advancing to the next stage of the competition i.e. the finals. To me, the best way to expand the BBL is to have two new teams and everybody playing each other just once for nine games each. I would say the Gold Coast and Canberra are obvious choices. I know the Gold Coast is a sporting graveyard but I think the BBL would be different. The Gold Coast receives over 13 million visitors a year according the GC website, most domestic. The summer school holidays (when the BBL is on) is the busiest time of the year for domestic tourist. Unlike League and AFL, cricket does not split fans like the other two do. Most people I know are not die-hard fans of a BBL franchises unlike club footy and hence more willing to ‘go to a game’. Most tourist would be families unlike in winter when people would go up for a weekend away. So you need to entertain the kids at night, enter in the BBL Gold Coast team.
      Canberra on the other hand, if CA are starting to play Australia games there, let’s not make them one offs. Keep the public interested and have a BBL team based there.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 20th 2018 @ 10:09am
        Andrew Cammarano said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        Interesting ideas, Gurudoright. I like the Gold Coast idea but I can see why Cricket Australia would be apprehensive given the struggles of the like of the Gold Coast Suns.

        Canberra, I think, would be an even longer shot. Is there enough volume there to build a supporter base?

        • January 20th 2018 @ 10:29am
          qwetzen said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          “Canberra, I think, would be an even longer shot. Is there enough volume there to build a supporter base?”

          The fact that the population of Canberra is 150% higher than that of Hobart would suggest ‘Yes’. Plus it’s not as if there’s anything else to do there…

          • Roar Rookie

            January 20th 2018 @ 2:19pm
            Andrew Cammarano said | January 20th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

            Good point, qwetzen. It would be new territory that’s for sure.

    • Roar Pro

      January 20th 2018 @ 1:04pm
      anon said | January 20th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

      People would lose interest in AFL if it were on TV 7 nights per week throughout winter.

      No-one watches all 9 games per weekend. You watch your team play and maybe another game. Maybe another two games if you’re a big footy fan.

      And the league seems lacking in star power. There aren’t the big foreign names playing like they were a couple seasons ago.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 20th 2018 @ 2:23pm
        Andrew Cammarano said | January 20th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

        I agree, anon. Is there a reason there are less international stars? I wonder whether this is an internal decision by clubs to foster local talent ala the Perth Scorchers.

      • January 20th 2018 @ 3:06pm
        Jack Russell said | January 20th 2018 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

        That’s partly because CA insist on scheduling meaningless one dayers in competition.

        I’d think the hype factor would increase a lot if a couple of weeks ago Smith, Warner, Starc et al came back to play in the BBL. Never mind a few of the better Englishmen that would happily take the paycheque to play T20 for a few weeks.

        CA need to decide what they want the BBL to be. When you hear comments like ‘We want the BBL to be the most popular league’ but then rip out the best players for a bunch of ODIs that very few people care about, it says to me that they don’t actually know what direction they’re going in.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 20th 2018 @ 8:01pm
          Andrew Cammarano said | January 20th 2018 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

          Agreed, Jack. Cricket Australia’s words don’t match up with their actions. I hope they come to the understanding of what they want the league to be before it’s too late.

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