How serious is the Big Bash?

Jack Russell Roar Guru

By Jack Russell, Jack Russell is a Roar Guru

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    The recent temporary withdrawal of Shane Warne from the Melbourne Stars has put the magnifying glass on the Big Bash League.

    If players are treating it as a sideshow, what is the future of the league?

    Crowds are well down, and TV ratings, whilst still very good, are significantly lower than the last year.

    A lot of people that went to games last year aren’t doing so this year, and a lot of people that watched the games on TV last year are doing something else.

    The Big Bash was always set up as first and foremost an entertainment product.

    That was probably necessary to get the initial bums on seats. But to be a long term success, the organisers have to keep in mind that they’re promoting a sporting league, not a pay per view World Wrestling Entertainment event.

    But back to Warne.

    He took off to England at late notice for Christmas, well after most of the people that attended the Stars’ game against Adelaide had purchased tickets.

    It wasn’t the birth of a child or something equally as significant, he just wanted to spend Christmas in the Northern hemisphere with Liz Hurley.

    And he did it on a few days notice. Without beginning to imagine the reaction if it occurred in any other major sporting league (and the lack of condemnation for Warne speaks volumes), it’s pretty clear that Warne’s care factor for the BBL lies somewhere in between what he has for breakfast and the weather forecast in Timbuktu. If he doesn’t care, why should the fans?

    We’re being asked to support one of a bunch of new teams (which I don’t think was a bad idea) and invest at least some of our time and money into these names.

    Is it reasonable to expect the players to at least take it seriously?

    I’d suggest that the league has a credibility problem, and it’s something they’re going to need to fix if they want to last more than a few years.

    Sports teams that can’t get some degree of supporter loyalty are going to face an uphill battle to survive, and they’re going to struggle to get that if the players are treating it as a means to a pay cheque and little else.

    Australian sports fans aren’t stupid.

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • Roar Guru

      December 29th 2012 @ 2:21am
      langou said | December 29th 2012 @ 2:21am | ! Report

      Cricket fans are the most fickle fans in Australia. They no longer bother watching the shield, domestic one dayers and have now started dropping off from watching one-day internationals.

      Cricket Australia had to do something and set up the big bash in an attempt to
      a) get cricket fans back
      b) attract a few of the theater goers

      If they take away the gimmicky elements of the Big Bash they could lose the theater goers and would be relying on the unreliable cricket fans who have been ignoring domestic cricket in this country for years and would probably end up doing the same to the Big Bash

      • Roar Guru

        December 29th 2012 @ 6:34am
        Rabbitz said | December 29th 2012 @ 6:34am | ! Report

        But it seems they have lost the “theatre goer” and never had the cricket fan.

        The concept will take a weird twist next season or the next as the marketeers panic and try and introduce some sort of draw card. What that twist is I dare not speculate as I don’t want to help the marketeers find their stupid ideas…

        You claim that the fans are fickle, you may be right but I would say they are tired of paying outrageous prices for the dross that is served up to them and the cricket boards just don’t get it.

        As an example the last couple of Ashes series have been well supported. So, the ACB & ECB have decided to strangle the golden goose with a 10 Test series next year. It is going to degenerate into a “what day is it and why do I care?” snooze fest by the time it gets to Oz and apart from Boxing day (the first day of the Test, not the whole Test) I suspect the fans will have had enough and will have drifted off to watch or do something else.

        • December 29th 2012 @ 11:59am
          Timmuh said | December 29th 2012 @ 11:59am | ! Report

          “Weird twist” might be eleven subs. A batting eleven and a fielding eleven, like the teams swapping in th NFL.
          Its the sort of thing that appeals to some of the marketoing types, and would take T20 further away from traditional cricket (which was part of the argument used for the whole franchise system to begin with).

          • December 29th 2012 @ 1:54pm
            p.Tah said | December 29th 2012 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            I think they’ll reduce the T20 to one-on-one. One batsman, one bowler, no fielders and just one ball bowled. All over after about 10 seconds and then they can fill the rest of the three hours with ads.

        • December 29th 2012 @ 4:00pm
          Thevietnamwaugh said | December 29th 2012 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

          I thought the 10 match Ashes series is a result of London hosting the Olympic games, and has nothing to do with cricket boards cashing in!

    • December 29th 2012 @ 6:39am
      Sailosi said | December 29th 2012 @ 6:39am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t say it’s any more serious or less serious than any other sporting competition in Australia. The other comps are very good at sucking people into believing they are watching some extraordinary competition and they sell the myth of passion and excitement very well.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

    • December 29th 2012 @ 8:41am
      mahonjt said | December 29th 2012 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      Sailosi,

      Compared to the 6 month, 27 round, 141 game A-League, which, like the BBL is very young, the BBL is clearly a gimik.

      for all of its devrlopmental chslkenges, the A-League is played strictly according to a 140 year set of established international laws. In summary, and contra to the excelkent Y1 marketing campaign – it is football, just as we know it.

      I compare the two only to make the point that reinvention and market reach can be achieved without flashing stumps, cheer girls and microphones in every offiface.

      Beyond this administration and marketing point there is no comparison. To survive the BBL will need to have real clubs, a long season, rosters that are very stable and a marque framework that doesn’t let players abuse the game the way Warne has.

      Without these elements and more, the BBL cannot and will not provide what fans will expect – an gebuinely emotive storliney. It’s ultimately all fruitless without meeting this essential human need in sport. The narrative is King…

    • December 29th 2012 @ 8:46am
      hog said | December 29th 2012 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Good article and sums up the problem, this is basically entertainment like a movie once you’ve seen it do you really need to see it again.

    • Roar Guru

      December 29th 2012 @ 9:28am
      Atawhai Drive said | December 29th 2012 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      According to his Twitter feed, Warney spent Boxing Day in bed with Elizabeth Hurley.

      First he watched the Melbourne Test, while she read a book.

      Later, still in bed with her, he watched the BBL. No mention of what she was doing.

      Somewhere in there they found time for breakfast in bed.

      Such is life.

      • December 29th 2012 @ 11:36am
        MrKistic said | December 29th 2012 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        That’s exactly why I don’t watch his Twitter feed!

    • December 29th 2012 @ 10:48am
      Matt F said | December 29th 2012 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      For a competition that allegedly wants to be taken seriously this is a horrible look. For any player, let alone a captain of one of the teams, to miss a match, in an 8 game (plus finals) tournament no less, for no reason other than a Christmas holiday is embarrassing. Fair enough if he had international duties but not for a holiday. He would never have missed the Boxing Day test match for such a trivial reason.

      Ellyse Perry was cut from Canberra in the W-League because her cricket commitments meant that she was unavailable for some matches. Apparently an, effectively, amateur football competition has higher standards than a supposedly professional cricket competition.

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