Australia news May 7, 2014

BBL changes contracting rules

ESPNcricinfo staff

Big Bash League teams will be able to replace squad members who are unavailable due to national duties next summer, one of several changes to the competition's contracting rules. A second trade week will also be introduced to allow teams to refine their lists, and the salary cap has been bumped up from $1.05 million to $1.2 million for each side.

Last summer, the rules regarding replacement players were relaxed to allow injured players to return to a squad after being replaced - previously if an injured player was replaced, his tournament was over. This time, a similar rule will allow players called up by Australia to be replaced in the squad and return to their BBL side when they again become available.

The move should help those teams who are heavy on international talent, while also meaning sides are not disadvantaged if a player is unexpectedly promoted to the national side. Mike McKenna, the executive general manager of operations at Cricket Australia, said the change was an extension of last season's injury regulation.

"We want fans to be able to watch the best available players, so it's important the rules encourage clubs to continue to contract players who may have national commitments over the summer," McKenna said. "This rule change will minimise the impact on clubs for the period of time that their players are with the Australian team."

The eight BBL sides can begin contracting players from May 19 and must have signed at least 10 players by July 11, before finalising their 18-man squads by December 5. There will now be two trade weeks, one at the start of the contracting period and one in November, in which players may be transferred between teams, though it is not necessary for a side to receive a player in return for giving one up.

The trade periods can help sides to ease any salary cap pressure they may be suffering, although the salary cap has been boosted by nearly $200,000. Cricket Australia said the higher amount was part of an increase in player payments across all men's competitions after CA's revenue was bolstered by last year's media rights agreement, which included a $100 million deal for the BBL to be shown on free-to-air television.

A set of figures released to Sydney's Daily Telegraph has shown the effect of the exposure offered to the BBL by the Ten Network during the 2013-14 season. A tournament conceived and launched primarily to attract new follows to the game appears to be doing so.

BBL matches consistently attracted television audiences of around 1 million viewers per match, a figure near to those maintained by the AFL and NRL football codes and well in advance of those for the A-League and the Super Rugby competition. Ground attendances that averaged about 19,000 per fixture were on pace with every sport but the AFL.

Other figures in the study conducted by Gemba showed that:

* 42% of crowds came to their first BBL game

* 1 in 5 BBL attendees came to an elite cricket match for the first time

* Over 50% of attendees were with family

* 24% of BBL attendees are kids vs. 9% at Tests

* 51% of women attended their first BBL game

* BBL is the clear favourite format of cricket among kids aged 5-15

"We have unashamedly designed a competition and marketed a competition to attract new people to the game," the CA chief executive James Sutherland said. "If it doesn't do that it won't last because it's not a good investment for us. We're excited to see that data."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Richard on May 8, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    @ bob - your calming words are a foil to my stick-up-for-your-mates parental instilled mentality, and its appreciated but I consider the world to be a massive place and CEO's are no longer warrior chiefs, they are politicians. In the words of Chairman Mao - Logic is an "old".

    Consider the ICC as the AFL tribunal: Currently all the teams are getting players suspended for brushing past another player, save for Giant Panda Adelaide and Hawthorn players who aren't even reported for king hits. In this analogy, India and the West indies are the giant panda's, those who can do no wrong. India locked in the medium term and West Indies are the key to long term expansion ties. Pandas.

    That leaves the rest of us sitting around like stunned mullets under fire.

  • rob on May 7, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    These look like sensible changes to the rules. The original player replacement rule seems a little harsh. I'd love to hear the thinking behind that little gem!

    I hope they shorten the tournament a bit this year. It was a touch too drawn out last year I thought and would benefit from a bit of condensing. Could be a scheduling nightmare I suppose though.

    @ Jagger: $100mil is a lot of dollars to be forking out for TV rights. No wonder it's so expensive to advertise in prime time!! - just on what you said, it beats me why people are getting so fired up about it. I like all 3 formats and appreciate the different skills it takes to be successful in each of them. I think I might be in the minority there though. Most other people seem to either love T20 and hate Tests or vice versa. Like I said it beats the hell out of me why anyone would do that because I think they're missing out. .. Cricket mate, it's all good regardless of the format imo.

  • Richard on May 7, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    @ Capt.Meanster - and other T20ites. Now you can see, categorically, no matter how much you complain, whinge or bang on about it, T20 will never reach Test match or ODI status in Australia. "It is not a good investment for us". IPL itself has hit the self-destruct button and all the goodwill and financial support built up over generations of Test cricket is going down the gurgler with it. Compare any of those games to the last Boxing Day Test - a dead rubber - which attracted a crowd of 271,865 people!

    Do not tell us Test matches are dead. If anything T20 has reminded us of how how much we love Test match cricket.

    The adult ticket price to Tendulkar's final Test at Wankhede (45,000 cap.) were between A$8 and A$45. For the FULL 5 DAYS. That's premium price at a rare event. At the SCG (48,000) the ticket prices for the irksome Sri Lankan Test series days 1 or 2 will be between A$60 and A$320 PER DAY. The BCCI doesn't look so omnipotent when you look at it in those terms now, does it?

  • Dummy4 on May 7, 2014, 3:28 GMT

    Seems like a way to keep the big boys happy eg Melbourne Stars who had their tournament ruined by national call ups.

  • No featured comments at the moment.