Cricket Australia "will extend the Big Bash League deeper into February next year in a clear message" to the Australian Football League -- "this is not your season," according to Sam Landsberger of the HERALD SUN. CA CEO James Sutherland said that it was "crucial that kids returned to school eager to play the summer sport and to ensure ground access." The AFL "has tried to swallow cricket’s spotlight" by scheduling the AFL Women's and then the AFLX competitions in February. But Sutherland said that his sport "would respond by untangling its overlapping schedule all the way from October until March." Sunderland: "From a competitor perspective, we’re very keen to make sure that it’s very clear it’s still cricket season in February. We’re very keen to ensure the Big Bash League season finishes with a bang and reaches a nice climax in mid-February, or even later." He added that the BBL would "take on a very different shape" after the school holidays. In February, the league will adopt an "AFL-style fixture" with doubleheaders staged from Friday-Sunday and days off during the week (HERALD SUN, 2/14).
Events and Attractions
The 2023 Ashes tests were awarded to "the same five grounds" as the '19 edition, the England & Wales Cricket Board confirmed, according to the BBC. Edgbaston, Headingley, The Oval, Lord's and Old Trafford will all host England vs. Australia matches in both series. The ECB also announced the cities that will host the new eight-team Twenty20 tournament in '20. Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham were selected for the competition. Both Lord's and The Oval will host newly-created teams in the competition, with the Ageas Bowl, Edgbaston, Headingley, Old Trafford, the Swalec Stadium and Trent Bridge the other grounds chosen. There had been reports Hampshire's Ageas Bowl was set to host its first Ashes test match in the '23 series, "having missed out" in '19. But it, Glamorgan's Swalec Stadium and Trent Bridge "all failed in their bids to host the Ashes" (BBC, 2/14).
Adelaide was named State of Origin’s latest neutral venue, "prompting questions about when Sydney and Brisbane will again host more than one clash apiece in the annual series or even if they will," according to the AAP. Adelaide Oval was confirmed on Wednesday as host of one of the first two games of the '20 series. It will be the "third consecutive series in which a game is played outside NSW and Queensland," with matches allocated for the Melbourne Cricket Ground in '18 and Perth in '19. NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan "talked down the prospect of a backlash from Queensland or NSW fans for taking the game to neutral territory." He said, "We’ve been through that before with Melbourne and that doesn’t seem to worry us." Canavan and South Australia Sports Minister Leon Bignell "declined to say what SA paid to host the game" but the NRL said that the financial incentive was "obviously a major consideration." The state government estimated "up to 16,000 interstate fans will descend on Adelaide" and inject A$15M ($11.9M) into the local economy (AAP, 2/13). In Brisbane, Paul Malone reported the NRL "refused to guarantee that Brisbane or Sydney will in future host a second State of Origin game in a series." Wally Lewis, Queensland’s "King" of Origin, said that he "could see there were compelling financial reasons for taking the attractions outside NSW and Queensland." But he said that Origin players "still wanted most to play for their state in Brisbane or Sydney." The NRL "refused to confirm or deny if the practice of selling off one game per year would extend" beyond '20. A league spokesperson said, "The NRL has confirmed the next three-year cycle of State of Origin matches. There has been no confirmation beyond that" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/14). In Sydney, Adam Pengilly reported Queensland Rugby League Chair Bruce Hatcher "is not convinced either state should be guaranteed to host two games in any one year," citing a new trend of "belt tightening" among many families. He said, "This is clearly an NRL initiative to do this and I think we've had enough experience of having two games in [Sydney and Brisbane]. Affordability in the current economic climate has had an impact when you have two games in your city. It's a supply and demand thing and some families can afford to go once, but they can't afford to go twice. Beyond that, you've also got to look at the opportunity of taking your game to another audience" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/14).
British Rowing is launching a "high-octane" race format it "hopes can attract a new audience to the sport." The Power8 Sprints will feature teams from eight cities competing against each other in races over 350m. Each race "will last about one minute," and British Rowing said that the initiative would "bring rowing to sports fans like they've never experienced before" (BBC, 2/13).
Spanish basketball's Copa del Rey will take place in Las Palmas for the third time in its history, "with the goal of having the same economic impact as last year's tournament in Vitoria," which generated more than €20M over four days. Local officials expect this year's tournament to generate between €20M ($24.9M) and €30M ($37.3M) for the island (EFE, 2/14).