Big Bash Success Arrests Trend Of Declining Interest In Australian Cricket
The "spectacular success of the Big Bash has arrested a worrying trend which threatened to make cricket a minor sport," according to Malcolm Conn of NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA. The latest detailed research shows that Australia’s domestic T20 competition "is now a major player on the national sporting scene." Ratings in the first year of free-to-air TV with Channel 10 were almost 1 million a match, approaching those of Australian Football League and National Rugby League games "while swamping" the A-League and Super Rugby. Likewise, average crowds of more than 19,000 a match "were only significantly bettered by the AFL." Total Big Bash crowds of more than 650,000 "pushed cricket attendances to an all-time high" of 1,730,000 for the summer. Big Bash merchandise sales "almost doubled on the previous season." Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said that if it was not for the Big Bash, "the nation’s favourite summer sport would increasingly become an old man’s game." Research from Gemba found:
• 42% came to their first BBL game
• One in five BBL attendees came to an elite cricket match for the first time
• More than 50% of attendees were with family
• 24% of BBL attendees are kids versus 9% at Tests
Sutherland claimed the primary role of the Big Bash "is to generate new audiences." Sutherland: “That’s why those stats are so encouraging for us. We have unashamedly designed a competition and marketed a competition to attract new people to the game” (NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA, 5/6).