Australia news December 27, 2015

BBL on Christmas Day a possibility

Christmas night could feature BBL cricket in future years © Getty Images

A Christmas night BBL fixture could be on the cards in coming years after Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland indicated CA may be open to the idea. This summer, as in most years, the BBL schedule includes matches up until December 23 with a resumption on Boxing Day, but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been left vacant.

However, last week the head of the Big Bash League, Anthony Everard, said there was no reason Christmas night matches could not at least be considered, and Sydney Thunder general manager Nick Cummins said he was open to discussions about his team playing at Christmas. Speaking on ABC Grandstand on Sunday morning, Sutherland said he was also open to the concept.

"It's an interesting one. I did hear some of the commentary around it just in the last few days and I've got to say, it hadn't actually occurred to me before," Sutherland said. "But sitting back on Christmas night, having had the great night's entertainment we'd had in the previous week or so, it's something that I guess will be on the drawing board."

The BBL has rated exceptionally well on television but Everard said last week that ratings alone would not be sufficient reason to schedule a game on Christmas night. He said there had been some "very preliminary thoughts" on possible alignment with a children's charity to make such a Christmas match more meaningful than being just another BBL match.

"I think what the BBL does is give you an opportunity to innovate ... I think it's a case of `Never say never'," Everard told AAP last week. "If we were to contemplate it I think we'd want to be pretty clear on what the objective was and that's not as a novelty or just playing another game because there's no other content on that day."

In recent decades elite sport has generally not been played on Christmas Day in Australia, but in the USA it is common. Occasional Christmas matches are played in the NFL but it is more customary in basketball; this year five NBA matches were played on Christmas Day.

In fact, cricket in Australia on Christmas Day would be nothing new. Test cricket has been scheduled on December 25 in Australia in past years. In 1967, Australia and India played a Test at Adelaide Oval that started on December 23, had a rest day on Sunday December 24, and resumed on Monday December 25. Similarly, Australia and West Indies played a Test in Adelaide in 1951 that finished on Christmas Day.

Adelaide Oval in particular has had a tradition of Christmas Day cricket. Starting in the 1920s, South Australia hosted Queensland in a semi-regular tradition, a Sheffield Shield match that featured play on Christmas Day. The last such match occurred in 1969.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Matt on December 28, 2015, 5:03 GMT

    I think enough people would tune in for bits and pieces or have on tv in background but can't see many going to watch at the ground? Surely crowds and popularity of the BBL are good enough not to need to try this?

  • Beavis on December 28, 2015, 2:45 GMT

    Like most ideas coming out of CA or ICC in recent years, consideration for the players (not to mention their families) is non-existent. If they can make more money it will happen. The tv audience would be massive, but I can't see many showing up at the ground. Regardless of religion, it is a day (the only day for many) where family comes first. Leave it be.

  • Merv on December 27, 2015, 22:18 GMT

    Whether or not you are a practicing Christian is not relevant. We have enough days in the year to play cricket. Test cricket has never been played on Christmas Day. Why is T Trash different? More importantly I suspect it would be a complete failure financially as few would come or watch if they have families and friend to celebrate Christmas with. Those with no friends, family or children to celebrate this day - watch a replay.

  • WolfmanJack on December 27, 2015, 12:39 GMT

    BBL on Christmas Day would be fantastic. Australia is a secular society so sport should be played on both Christmas

  • Cricinfouser on December 27, 2015, 10:16 GMT

    If Rugby League in both Australia and England can be played on Good Friday a true Christian religious day that incorporates all Christians well Big Bash Cricket can be played on a day that's only for selective and exclusive Christians - it's NOT a day for all Christians. Bring on the Big Bash for Xmas Eve and Xmas Day it's a total must. Even a Xmas Day Double Header.

  • Terry on December 27, 2015, 7:44 GMT

    It will come. I know players aren't all playing for their home cities but you'd hope it would be either the two Sydney or Melbourne teams playing each other.

  • Merv on December 27, 2015, 7:32 GMT

    No way. Christmas Day is one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar and is a day when many Australians seek family, faith and good spirit, or all three. Keep cricket out of this major holiday which only occurs because of the birth of Christ. Play the T 20 cricket another time. Gambling on such a day would be just wrong.

  • Peter on December 27, 2015, 2:49 GMT

    Looking back at that scorecard in 1969 & being a bit of a cricket historian I noticed both Lance Gibbs & Rusi Surti playing for the 2 states. I think this was the season Australia toured India & South Africa & were away the whole season hence no Ian Chappell, Mallett. Wonder why Surti wasn't playing for India in the series against Australia then? If I recall correctly I read once where Ian King was the last full blooded aboriginal to have played FC cricket in Australia but not sure about that one. As far as BBL on Christmas Day, it would be a HUGE ratings winner.

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