Cricket

BBL expands into first week of February

The BBL final will be played on February 4 next year © Getty Images

The BBL and WBBL seasons will expand by a week next summer, with the tournament finals scheduled for February 4. The expansion means that the semi-finals and final for both competitions will be played in the first week of the school year, outside the school-holiday period that has been such a successful window for the T20 tournament.

The semi-finals are locked in for February 1 and 2, a Thursday and Friday, with the deciders to be played on the Sunday. Cricket Australia had announced in January that eight additional BBL matches would be fixtured for next season, though at the time the BBL chief, Anthony Everard, said CA believed they “could fit the extra games within the existing window if we wanted to”.

The increase means one extra home game per BBL team, with the intention of taking matches to new markets. Launceston will host a WBBL and BBL double-header on December 30, when the Hobart Hurricanes play the Sydney Thunder, while other new venues are yet to be announced.

“Both the BBL and WBBL are firm family favourites during the summer school holidays, and with even more matches we hope fans will continue to vote with their feet, support their club, and help us surpass last year’s attendance, which exceeded 1 million for the second consecutive season,” Everard said.

“The eight additional BBL matches for this season have been scheduled to complement the existing regular season fixture, take the BBL and WBBL to more locations, and encourage more people to give cricket a go.

“The opportunity to take matches to markets such as Launceston is particularly exciting as it represents the growing popularity of the Big Bash nationwide, and we are hopeful of extending the BBL’s footprint even further this season in partnership with the Thunder, Strikers and Renegades, who remain in discussions to take matches to new markets.”

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/story/1113309.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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