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Depends how broadly you want to cast yor net.

Cricket writers generally know f**k all about economics, so most of the talk about the BBL prior to it being launched was rubbish, regardless of where they pitched their tent.

There were (and probably still are) plenty of commenters at places like TheRoar who said T20 would die off like ODIs*; or that the second teams in Melbourne and Sydney added no value, or should be in Geelong (still plenty in that camp); there were (are?) commenters busily engaged in code-wars talking down cricket generally, and the prospects of a viable domestic league particularly.

There are still reasonable concerns about the lack of differentiation between the franchises; the naff names and colour choices; the chopping and changing of international players and quality of the dregs; and the fact that it continues to compete against itself (test/odis) for viewers and players. Those are things holding it back though, not killing it.

I had my doubts they could maintain exposure while the Ashes were on because it didn't do so three years ago, but the shift to Ten - effectively selling at a separate product - has made a huge difference; and that has translated into attendances (which conforms neatly with what every sports entrepreneur says about the relationship of tv and attendances).

There also remains an under-current of: test cricket is real cricket and T20 cricket is just entertainment, noone watching it really cares what happens. That's becoming harder to justify when the crowds are solid and coloured for their allegiances. The Gades-Brisbane game had a very healthy tone of red - better than Melbourne Heart games actually, and noone goes to watch Heart for entertainment.

* An aside on ODI popularity. For crowds it peaked in the early 90s, at the same time test cricket bottomed out. Also, coincidentally, the same time as CA took over marketing control of Australian cricket and started pushing tests again. People watch whatever is marketed to them if it has a decent narrative and find it accessible. BBL works because CA (and Ten) are putting some effort into selling it. The details don't really matter.

The Real Thing or Not

It's such a digestible form of cricket. I can see why kids think it's bloody marvellous. Whether it keeps on like this I don't know. Happening in the Christmas holidays for school kids is an excellent idea for the Big Bash, not so sure that it's doing anything for Shield.

I find myself getting caught up in the Scorchers' matches and even the IPL with the teams that Gilly skippers and the Marsh boys and Rhino play for. Handy when it's the same team.


Is it still losing money? Didn't last year's instalment lose $10 million or something?

I've also been wondering about the WACA - with the BBL and the fact that the Scorchers are generally pretty successful, shouldn't their fortunes be improving as well?


Carrot, should break even with the new $20m TV deal and healthy crowds mean it ought to be profitable. If it isn't it they'll need to pare down costs because at the moment they are selling out matches.

On the WACA, it costs about $100m for every 10,000 seats a stadium puts in. Or $10m a year in financing etc. Give or take, they have 10 popular fixtures a year (4 days of test, 2 ODIs, 4 BBL games). That's an extra $100 from every new customer. Corporate boxes sell well, but their main problem remains that they don't have the product. For comparison the Adelaide Oval, with footy, gets 30 odd fixtures on $500m for 25,000 extra seats: about $70. That's ballpark what is possible, although milking the government helps. The WACA was never going to host an Indian test, by the by, the media facilities are not up to it. Even the 'Gabba is struggles.

Big Ramifications

Be careful of hatching your chickens before they count.

In my LIMITED EXPERIENCE of seeing a sports popularity EXPLODE, you'll need over 10 years of solid numbers before you can take it to the bank. Namely soccer [Perth Glory] and basketball [the entire league].

I'm still scratching my head over the size and speed of basketball's downfall in this country.

And how's the mutual back slapping and declarations of "we've arrived" every time our soccer team qualifies for the World Cup? Boy who cried wolf, I'm sorry. Heard it all before. Granted, the Oz soccer train has departed Wog Town, but it fo' sure hasn't ARRIVED anywhere.

I can only conclude that's what happens when ya place all your baskets on one egg. Especially if that egg is a sporting audience with the ATTENTION SPAN OF A GNAT who likes colours and noise and "rah rah!" For a dozen years the NBL cornered "the opening ceremony is the best part of the Olympics" crowd. Not a good long term marketing strategy, it would seem.

Q. Do you know what was one of THE most popular spectator sports in America not that long ago? Massive crowds.

A. Track cycling. AFAICT, there's hardly even a sad vestige of supporters remaining as a testimony to its popularity.

Big Ramifications

OTOH, bastard-cricket isn't an imported sport, so it's got that going for it.

OTOOH, bastard-cricket has this moronic "home run derby" fungo feel to it. Zero nuance. Maybe the kiddies who are fans right now might wake up to this fact in 5 years time?


Long live 50 over ODIs!!


Cycling is a strange old sport for watching. they sold out the Hi-Sense Areana here a couple of years ago for the track cycling WC. And tickets weren't cheap. The Bay Crits and the Tour Downunder are super popular for spectators (and free). But outside the TdF it gets very little media, except for some SBS spots.

Soccer is somewhat similar, in that attendances at the A-League are pretty strong (10k plus, generally), but TV audiences are apathetic (40-80k). Is that a good position to be in (solid base) or a weak one (lose members and the clubs collapse)?

Basketball still has a very solid playing base, but it lost its way badly. Going off free-to-air killed it, as did having so many regional teams, and it hasn't recovered. Jordan retiring hurt too (it also hurt the NBA, on the order of 50% drops in viewers). I suspect the biggest factor though was that basketball forced other codes (particularly AFL) to lift their game. The quality of the presentation by the end of the 90s was miles ahead of where it was.

Cricket has been largely the reverse, huge tv audience, paltry crowds. There was almost certainly a huge latent demand for regular local matches that wasn't met because of the obsessive focus on international cricket. Agree on counting chickens though, but not on nuance. Though you need to be at the ground to appreciate it, because it is all in the field placements. The commentary - better as it is on 10 - still generally fails to pick up the details.

Big Ramifications

Cheers Russ, as always!


I also agree with your thoughts. In my point of view cricket is only for entertainment and dont take it as a serious. sports plays vital role in our nation.


Where is the ODI post? So we can ignore it and post about the NFL playoffs. Speaking of which this Pats v Colts game is a cracker.

Tony Tea

Now that you mention it.

Tony Tea

Basketball's collapse coincided with the arrival of easily viewed NBA. If there is one thing sports fans love, it's the best.

Tony Tea

From a personal point of view, I stopped watching basketball when it suddenly occurred to me it wasn't much of a sport to watch.

Big Ramifications

Same here. Prick of a sport. It needs to be more of a physical contest, needs more BIG PACKS, needs a lot more bumps. More blokes getting bowled over and sliding along on their asses.

But most of all I hate the pacing. It's like the end of a school excursion and it's a long walk back to the bus. Then with about 50m to go it becomes a mass sprint to get the good seats. [While the teachers are all yelling "No running!" Then they make a laughable show of swinging their dicks around by punishing 2 random kids when everyone was in the wrong.]

Or imagine if the whole of the Bathurst race was done using the pace car except for the final lap. Yeah, that's a better analogy.

In my extremely limited basketball-watching experience, far too often, with only a couple of minutes to go, it was still ANYONE'S GAME. So for the first 45 minutes I found myself thinking "Why am I watching this? I might as well do something else and just watch the last 3 minutes." Pretty soon I nixed watching it altogether.

Tony Tea

I used to love playing basketball, but by crikey you got to play against some first class c**ts.

Big Ramifications
"far too often, with only a couple of minutes to go, it was still ANYONE'S GAME"

Which sounds like a marketing dream, non? What am I complaining about?

But then you go back to my 1st point. 45mins of blokes taking turn-for-turn shots, gayly throwing the ball thru a hoop.

I want my 45 minute back story to be a lot more entertaining.

Big Ramifications

I just watched a rotund NSW grade-cricket plodder hit the fastest BBL century for the MIGHTY Perth Scorchers.

Considering my total Twenty20 viewing career is still conceivably under 1000 balls.... just gotta pat myself on the back for having mad turning-on-the-telly skillz.

Big Ramifications

Sorry, that reads like a team record, not a league record. It should read:

** A member of the MIGHTY Perth Scorchers.
** Hit the fastest BBL century, ever.

Bullet points! Ehh, don't act like you don't like them.

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