How The Big Bash League Came To Be
The Big Bash League is officially a regular feature of the Australian summer. Initiated by Cricket Australia and played for the first time in 2011, the Big Bash League is T20 cricket at its best. 2015 saw the Women’s Big Bash League being added to the schedule, and the competition has since grown beyond anyone’s expectations.
The basic model is simple: entertainment first, sport second. Forbes has described the Big Bash League as changing paradigm of how sports is being viewed and played. The result has been massive growth in viewerships and intense negotiations for new TV rights deals.
With this growth in popularity has come calls for expansion of the current eight-team format. The current cities represented include Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide. Other Australian cities are calling for their slice of the action pie, but administrators aren’t keen on expanding too soon, saying that this would be a recipe for disaster.
Under New Management
This year saw the appointment of a new chief executive. Kim McConnie, previously marketing executive at PepsiCo, has cited her personal list of priorities for the Big Bash League as including especially the further development of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
McConnie has said that expansion to beyond the eight-team format is definitely not ruled out, but that the time just isn’t right at the moment. She said that the wide-spread interest from across the country is encouraging as it shows that there is a lot of interest in the Big Bash League. However, the focus now was on developing the existing brands. The rest would follow in due course, when the time was right.
From a pure marketing perspective, that sounds about right. Especially considering the many examples of sports franchises that have attempted to expand prematurely, and subsequently folded. The A-League, Super Rugby League and National Basketball League are but a few examples.
Despite the sound logic behind McConnie’s reasoning, Geelong’s David Kelly argues that the time for growth and expansion has never been more ideal than the present. Kelly has beseeched the powers that be to add at least one or two more teams to the BBL run.
Then there’s Mark McConnell, the man behind the Canberra bid. He has made it quite clear that Canberra was literally in waiting for the process of adding more teams to start, and that they were ready for the challenge.
It would seem that the BBL and WBBL face many challenges, but that a lack of interest isn’t one of them.
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