The KFC T20 Big Bash League has proved a hit with fans and television viewers, blowing pre-season expectations and previous seasons' records out of the water.
Even allowing for the abandoned match in Hobart on Sunday, attendance for the opening weekend was higher than the corresponding fixtures in the first two seasons of the league. More than 68,000 people attended the four matches, with that number including the 5,681 fans that braved the wet weather at Blundstone Arena.
This year’s Melbourne Derby attracted 25,266 fans compared to the 23,583 who attended the opening Renegades-Stars match last year. The average attendance for the three completed matches over the weekend was 20,903 compared to an average attendance of 16,261 for BBL|02’s opening round.
While the pre-Christmas attendance was encouraging, the TV ratings for the first round far exceeded expectations with an average of more than 1m people watching each of the three prime-time matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. This result places the BBL amongst the country’s most popular winter or summer sports.
“We’re extremely pleased with the results from the opening weekend,” the BBL’s Mike McKenna said.
“To break through the million-viewer barrier on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night with our first foray into prime time free-to-air TV is a terrific result and has given the league the opportunity to confirm its position as clearly summer’s most exciting and popular domestic sporting competition.
“While the attendance and TV ratings in particular were more than we could have hoped for, equally as pleasing was the quality of play across the opening round.
“We’ve already seen some high quality cricket with Australia’s young talent showing they can more than match it with the league’s international and established stars. It’s the entertainment provided by these players that will continue to encourage fans to buy tickets, turn on Network Ten or follow via the Cricket Australia Live app throughout the holiday period.
“We still have a long way to go but the first four matches have set a strong platform for the rest of the season.”
The second round of the BBL starts on Boxing Day with a clash between the Scorchers and Renegades at the WACA.
Opening Weekend Attendance – History
- BBL|03 – 68,391 (including 5,681 at abandoned match in Hobart)
- Stars v Renegades – 25,266
- Sixers v Thunder – 18,180
- Hurricanes v Strikers – 5,681*
- Heat v Scorchers – 19,264
- BBL|02 Opening Weekend – 65,144
- BBL|01 Opening Weekend – 60, 828
* match abandoned after six overs were bowled
TV Ratings – Opening Weekend
Combined Metro and Regional Audience
- Match 1 – Stars v Renegades, 20 Dec, 7.45pm - 1.19m average audience
- Match 2 – Sixers v Thunder, 21 Dec, 7.15pm – 1.11m average audience
- Match 3 – Hurricanes v Strikers, 22 Dec, 1.45pm – 414,587 average audience
- Match 4 – Heat v Scorchers, 23 Dec, 6.15pm – 1.12m average audience
Source: Cricket Australia