Eight additional games in next season's Big Bash League will not necessarily mean adding another week to its length, as Cricket Australia tries to balance the burgeoning tournament with the international summer and the domestic competitions beneath them.
Even as they are embroiled in negotiations over the next MOU, the nation's cricketers are broadly supportive of the adding of one extra home game for each of the BBL's eight teams, meaning 10 qualifying matches per team and 40 overall before the semis and the final. The decision to expand was reached late last year after what the BBL chief Anthony Everard described as "around 18 months" of discussions about how to grow the tournament without moving too fast, too soon.
Rather than adding to the number of teams, the extra matches will be a welcome addition for the broadcast rights holders at Ten, while at the same time affording opportunities to take matches to venues like Canberra and Geelong - both centres having agitated for extra fixtures and ultimately teams of their own.
"We feel we could fit the extra games within the existing window if we wanted to," Everard said on Friday. "There's no question the school holiday period and the window we currently occupy has proved very popular with fans. Alternatively we could push it out by one week and play the BBL final in that first weekend of February, which is actually what we did a couple of years ago. So we've got those options available to us.
"It's something we've been looking at for probably 18 months now, and we had a few different options available to us. We felt adding the extra eight games, one more home game per club was the best way of driving the BBL strategy and attracting new fans. That decision was made late last year, and we've got a busy couple of months now to bring it to life.
"We've acknowledged that cricket's done a great job over the years in serving the major metropolitan centres and there's a real opportunity with the BBL to potentially open up new markets and give existing or new cricket fans the opportunity to experience the BBL live."
There has been concern among the players about scheduling, and about the marginalisation of the Sheffield Shield in particular. However the ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson was supportive of the move. "Congratulations should rightly go to the players and to Cricket Australia for the development of a terrific domestic cricket tournament," he said.
"Over the past six years the players have supported the innovation required to make the Big Bash a huge success, both on and off the field. Record crowds, record TV audiences, and the attraction of fans of all ages indicate a growing appetite for T20 cricket in this country."
Ahead of the BBL final between the Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers in Perth, Everard said that CA had discussed the possibility of locking in the location of the tournament final in the future, perhaps rotating from major centre to major centre on a year-by-year basis. However he also made it clear that this was not a possibility in the short term, as sell-out crowds at the Gabba and the WACA Ground this week have demonstrated the value of home finals being earned by competing teams.
"We have looked at the possibility of locking in a location for the final," he said. "I think at the moment we're pretty happy with the current formula - we saw in Perth a couple of nights ago and in Brisbane how passionate the local fans are, and I think the final sold out in about an hour. We want to make sure local fans have an opportunity to get along and support their team, so we're committed to that in the short term."
One example that CA could look towards in the future is that of the US College football playoffs, where the two semis are rotated among the venues for the six major college bowl games, with the location of the final decided at the end of a bidding process not dissimilar to that used for the NFL Superbowl.
The WBBL, meanwhile, is set to remain in its present 58-match configuration, though the number of venues may also be set to expand. "The opportunity to expand matches into non-traditional markets is not just limited to the men's game," Everard said. "We are working to see how we can also schedule Women's Big Bash League matches in these new venues, once they are finalised."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig