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BBL tightened for next summer

Daniel Brettig

May 3, 2013

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

Brisbane Heat, champions of the Big Bash League , Perth Scorchers v Brisbane Heat, BBL final, Perth, January 19, 2013
The Big Bash League will start later in the December and conclude earlier in the new year © Getty Images
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Australia's domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League will become a "tighter" competition for the next five years, starting later in December and concluding earlier in the new year, after a pre-Christmas start last summer proved costly to Cricket Australia and detrimental to the fortunes of the Test team.

No fewer than 16 BBL games were played before Christmas in 2012, the glut of matches producing paltry crowds while at the same time leaving international players with no first-class matches in which to find or regain touch between the first Test of the summer against South Africa in late November and the last against Sri Lanka in January.

Left with BBL teams complaining stridently about poor attendances on one side and players and team performance officials uneasy about the glaring Sheffield Shield hole in the calendar, CA's response has been to cut fat from the BBL schedule to better utilise the January holidays and allow players, coaches and selectors more relevant matches ahead of and alongside the home Tests, starting with the Ashes.

"The final detail is still being worked out but the general principle is that for the next five years we can start a lot later in December than we did this year," Mike McKenna, CA's executive general manager of operations and BBL chief, told ESPNcricinfo. "If you look at the first year we had eight games before Christmas, last year we had 16. For the next five years we'll have six to eight before Christmas, and the rest of the season will run after the Christmas break.

"One of the things we'll see next year is the Sheffield Shield competition running towards the end of the third Test match, giving every opportunity for the Test team to prepare well for that series [the Ashes]. The international schedule this summer made it challenging because of when the T20 internationals landed. For the next five years we don't have that barrier, we've got the ability to start late and then make it a tight competition - five and a half weeks is the goal.

"It'll be much better for a fan, much easier to get to, and those games before Christmas we should be able to do much better than trying to spread two or even three games into the pre-Christmas period. It kills you."

This decision was among numerous strategic calls made over a two-day Cricket Australia board meeting in Melbourne. The game's custodians discussed how the landscape had changed over the past two BBL-infused summers and also looked ahead to a future that will feature a new major sponsor for the Test team and a fresh broadcast rights deal.

CA reported a small overall profit of $1.5 million for "domestic T20 operations", though that figure included the $2.7 million in prize money raked in by the Sydney Sixers and the Perth Scorchers for earning a place in the Champions League. Sydney's first prize alone was worth $2.5 million.

"That's before we've done the new media rights deal, so the league structurally is in a pretty good place going forward," McKenna said. "We think media rights will be better and we certainly think we'll get back to the crowds we had in the first year with a better program than we had last season."

The place of ODIs were also discussed, with fewer 50-over fixtures to be scheduled in coming seasons. The exception to this general rule will be the 2014-15 summer, when the national side can expect plenty of one-day matches ahead of the World Cup, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by WeirPicki on (May 7, 2013, 4:56 GMT)

@MinusZero, excellent comments and I couldn't agree more. T20 is boring and a blight on the wonderful game. I wish it would hurry up and and go away so 'proper' cricket can be played once more.

Posted by baghels.a on (May 6, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

@ Meety, funny you say " not enuff talent, considering there must be two dozen Aussie cricketers on the show !!! TV ratings for IPL is atleast 5 times higher than Ashes , historic 4-0 thrashing that India inflicted on Aussies had a maximum TV rating of 2.0 compared to maximum 5.6 for IPL !!! You say TWO teams too many but we in India feel it should be increased to 12

Cmmon @Meety you got to admit cricket is not popular in Australia as it used to be before, i have seen annual viewership figures where it trailed behind AFL,NRL,A-League,European Soccer leagues,Australian open to finish 5th or 6th in the pecking order.Sports/leagues such as AFL,NRL,Soccer Leagues develop a feeling of tribalism and becomes a lucrative career because so many teams have so many spots to fill, in Cricket the domestic FC sides just act as a feeder to the national team where only a elite 15 can play , IPL is trying to change that by casting the net wide and employing 300 odd cricketers instead of 15

Posted by duralsumo on (May 6, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

Having back to back Ashes series is a monumental error it can only benefit England and not Australia. However reducing the BBL to a tighter tournament in timeframe is a great decision. As I always say there is room for all forms of the game and BBL is now a part of our calender which generates revenue as well as introducing new fans to the game. IPL take note there is a place in the most popolus cricket country in the world however lets not make it interfere with the overall international game and downgrade the status of Test Matches including the West Indies or other cricket nations. Food for thought. However I do understand that US$s have an impact all decisions.

Posted by   on (May 5, 2013, 2:48 GMT)

The BBL was a flop due to too much cricket in general. Crickets popularity in Australia means that a tournament like the BBL should easily supersede the NRL, Super Rugby and A-League soccer, as Australia's premier domestic sporting tournament (hard to supersede the AFL). Poor management hasn't allowed this. There are too many internationals in cricket. So much show that players are being rested from internationals which is ridiculous. The BBL doesn't get crowds as the best players aren't available for it, as they are playing test cricket at the same time. If you look at the worlds great sporting leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL in America, the EPL and Aviva Cup in England, soccer leagues throughout Europe, French Rugby and the IPL in India, and the AFL, NRL and Super Rugby in Australia, they all have one thing in common - the best international players from that country are available for the duration of the the tournament

Posted by Buckers97 on (May 5, 2013, 1:20 GMT)

This i ow it should go (next sumers Ashes series for example); 3 ODI's vs England & Ryobi Cup (every state plays each other once) Between November 25 to December 5. 5 Tests vs England. Start Dec.10 @ Gabba & end:Jan.18 @Adelaide Sheffield Shield runs from Dec.7. Final starts on Jan.16 BBL starts Jan.25 with Hobart playing home match, (BBL running for 20 days.) Halfway through BBL, Aus play 3 T20's vs England, 3 ODI's vs other touring country & T20 vs(eg.NZ) Play Aus vs Allstars T20 on Feb 17th to.... END SUMMER Aus tour overseas

Posted by MinusZero on (May 5, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

They should just ditch T20 alltogether. Who remembers who won the last few BBLs compared to the last three ashes series? Tests are more important

Posted by   on (May 4, 2013, 11:36 GMT)

Would be good to see the IPL become part of the BBL!

Posted by Sinhaya on (May 4, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

I felt that the BBL duration is about 3 weeks and is good overall. Well all upto CA to act in the best interest of cricket in Australia.

Posted by Meety on (May 4, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster on (May 3, 2013, 16:39 GMT) - "NEVER"? The IPL has had a drop in Pay TV take up, & honestly there are TWO teams too many & not enuff talent. You have already had turnover of franchises too. @ Sir_Francis on (May 3, 2013, 13:10 GMT) - the crowds were poor primarily BEFORE Xmas. In Jan the crowds were reasonable.

Posted by Thefakebook on (May 3, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

Good job CA learning from their mistake.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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