BBL crowds up following Cricket Australia’s decision to cut matches

Featured Image: Werdan/ CC BY-SA 2.0/ Edited for size

Cricket Australia’s decision to axe 16 matches from the latest Big Bash League (BBL) has paid off, with crowds up by 29% compared to last season. 

Across the first 20 games of the summer in Australia, attendances averaged 17,473 compared to 13,500 at the same point during the 2022-23 season.

The figures were boosted by the 42,504 that attended the New Year’s Eve match in Adelaide, with the Strikers taking on Melbourne Stars. This number was also the biggest crowd for the competition in four years.

Additionally, Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder have recorded their highest regular-season crowds.

Cricket Australia made the decision to reduce the regular season from 56 games to 40 this season, in order to rejuvenate the tournament.

BBL general manager Alistair Dobson told the Australian Associated Press: “Creating some scarcity was always part of the thinking, and making it feel like every game is a must-see event. But that doesn’t work if you’re not putting on great events and promoting them.

“Some structural adjustments with the number of games, scheduling decisions and salary cap has it all feeling like it’s on the right track.”

Cricket Australia is also considering adapting the season length of the Women’s Big Bash League, which has remained at 14 games per side at present. There have been calls to move to a 40-game season in line with the men’s, reducing mid-week afternoon fixtures.