Sydney's grip on the Matador Cup has been loosened, with Perth and Brisbane also named to host matches in Australia's domestic one-day competition this summer. Cricket Australia has announced the domestic cricket schedule for 2016-17, with Wollongong and Townsville set to host Sheffield Shield matches for the first time.
The season will begin on October 1 with Queensland hosting the Cricket Australia XI - the youth side retained for this summer's Matador Cup - at Allan Border Field in Brisbane. The WACA and Allan Border Field will both host early matches in the tournament before the competition moves on to Sydney for the remainder and the final.
Since it changed to a tournament-style competition in 2013-14, the Matador Cup has been played mostly in Sydney, although Brisbane hosted some games in 2014-15. The Nine Network will broadcast 13 of the 23 Matador Cup games live, including three day-night games and four Perth matches that will be shown in primetime in the eastern states.
"The Nine Network are working very hard with us to elevate the profile of the Matador Cup, and we're really grateful for this," Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's executive general manager of team performance, said.
"We want as many fans around Australia to be able to witness the established and emerging talent cricket has to offer, and with limited grounds available to host the tournament in October, this opportunity gives fans the chance to catch some great action, no matter where they are around the country."
After the Matador Cup final at North Sydney Oval on October 23, the summer moves on to the Sheffield Shield, which opens with a round of day-night games at the Gabba, WACA and MCG beginning on October 25. A second day-night round, the fifth of the competition starting on December 5, will involve pink-ball games at Adelaide Oval, Bellerive Oval and the WACA.
Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville will host Sheffield Shield cricket for the first time, with a match between Queensland and Western Australia starting on November 26. Wollongong's North Dalton Park will also make its Shield debut when New South Wales host Tasmania at the venue beginning on February 25.
Victoria will host a match at Traeger Park in Alice Springs for the second consecutive season, this time against Western Australia from March 8 to 11, and have also nominated the venue for the Shield final if they win hosting rights due to the MCG's unavailability. Last summer, the Bushrangers also nominated Alice Springs for the final but they did not win hosting rights, instead claiming the title away against South Australia in Glenelg.
The Sheffield Shield will again be played in two blocks - October 25 to December 8 and then February 1 to March 29 - either side of the Big Bash League. The BBL fixtures were announced in June.