The KFC Big Bash League is set to expand from next season, with an additional eight matches being added to the competition, Cricket Australia announced today.
The KFC BBL|07 regular season will increase to 40 matches, from 32 this season, in addition to the existing two Semi Finals and the Final, bringing the total to 43 matches. The expansion will mean that more than 100 BBL and WBBL matches will be played next season.
With more than 1 million fans already attending matches this season, and a TV viewership average of more than a million nationally each night, the Big Bash is set for another record season, with tomorrow’s final against Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers at #TheFurnace expected to be a sell-out.
The move to expand the competition will see each BBL Club allocated an additional home match each season (moving from four to five) and increase each Club’s regular season fixtures from eight to ten.
The dual objectives of adding these extra games is consistent with Cricket Australia’s strategy of broadening cricket’s fan base and attracting new fans to the sport. In contemplating the allocation of the additional matches, the intention will be to continue to drive participation in the sport, or where possible to open up new markets throughout the country, servicing untapped demand and allowing even more first-time fans across Australia the ability to experience cricket outside of capital cities.
Head of the Big Bash, Anthony Everard was excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for the league.
“We’re always looking at opportunities to grow the game and expand our fan base beyond traditional markets and demographics.
“The scheduling of the additional eight matches in a manner that complements the existing regular season fixture is aimed at encouraging more people to pick up a bat and ball and give cricket a go.
“This expansion is designed to drive Cricket Australia’s strategy to ultimately continue to be Australia’s favourite sport and a sport for all Australians.
“We haven’t yet finalised the locations of these additional matches yet, but we are working closely with clubs to explore options. A state-by-state approach will be taken to determine the most appropriate location to host this additional fixture, taking into account aspects including existing contractual obligations, participation and fan growth opportunities, and venue infrastructure.
“The opportunity to expand matches into non-traditional markets is not just limited to the men’s game. We are working to see how we can also schedule Women’s Big Bash League matches in these new venues, once they are finalised.”
The venues to host these additional eight matches will be finalised in the coming months, but Everard confirmed that at this stage no additional teams would be added to the league.
“At present, there are no plans to increase the number of teams in the League in the immediate future, but we remain open minded about future expansion plans,” he concluded.
The Rebel WBBL|02 and KFC BBL|06 final will be broadcast live on Network Ten.