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Dwindling BBL Crowds Challenge for Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia has admitted that lack of crowds for the Big Bash League games, especially in Sydney and Melbourne is a big challenge for the board to tackle.

Cricketnext Staff |February 17, 2019, 1:24 PM IST
Dwindling BBL Crowds Challenge for Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia has admitted that lack of crowds for the Big Bash League games, especially in Sydney and Melbourne is a big challenge for the board to tackle.

BBL Chief Kim McConnie said the format of the tournament is something that will be reviewed but is unlikely to be changed next year.

The current season saw 59 home and away games which led to a fall in average attendance by about 6000 even as the overall numbers increased mainly due to 16 additional games. Melbourne and Sydney - both big markets for the game saw average crowds despite the teams doing well.

“The reason we shifted to a full home and away season was to make sure we are a sport for all Australians, and in order to be a sport for all Australians, you need to play in all parts of Australia,” McConnie was quoted as saying by The Age.

“We also knew that it wasn’t going to be about average attendances. We also knew that it was going to take fans a while to catch up ... that we’d end up with smaller crowds at some games. And we’re OK with that. It’s going to take us a couple of seasons to push that back up. Because this is only our eighth year, we’ve got the luxury of time.

“The challenges we see are in our two-team markets. As we look at it, there are a couple of isolated areas wherein big major cities, we’re just competing against so much more, it’s a little bit harder for us to pick up that momentum. There’s a little bit more work to do in Sydney and Melbourne to build the fan base back up again.”

He added that he doesn't see more games as one of the reasons for fall in interest.

“Seven home games is by no means too much for each club. What we’re going to look at after this season though is the window those matches operate in,” said McConnie.

“I think what’s really important is we’re not going to be reactive.

“We moved outside the school holidays and people still came along."

The format of the finals might be reviewed next season as Hobart Hurricanes, despite finishing first were knocked out in the semi-final.

“The finals is one of the things that we’re going to review first. We’re going to see if this finals structure is the best structure. There’s definitely momentum for the top team getting a second chance.”

If BBL adopts it, then it will be similar to the format followed in IPL, where the top two teams in the league stage get two shots for a place in the final.

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