WBBL’s plan for prime-time evolution
Saturday’s Weber WBBL final was the most-watched game in league history, and Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson has said the game at Optus Stadium is the model for the league’s next evolution. around prime time.
The crowd of 15,511 at Optus Stadium which saw Perth Scorchers win their first WBBL title with a 12-point victory over the Adelaide Strikers was the highest attendance in a stand-alone WBBL match, breaking the previous record of 5,650 in Great Barrier Reef Arena, Mackay in WBBL | 04.
It was also the largest crowd to watch a WBBL Finals game, overtaking the 10,069 fans who watched the WBBL | 03 semi-final between the Scorchers and the Sydney Thunder (a double with the KFC BBL male).
A combined average audience of 535,000 plays across all TV and streaming platforms, eclipsing the 506,000 audiences in the WBBL | 04 final.
“Last night showed that when you have a big stadium, a good promotion and two great teams, people show up in great numbers,” Dobson told cricket.com.au.
Each game was broadcast on television for the first time this season, with 25 games on Channel Seven and the rest broadcast on Kayo and Fox Cricket and streamed live for free on cricket.com.au and CA Live App.
“Our ambition would be to maintain our (broadcast) footprint and the next evolution of it is not only to have the big weekends the WBBL is known for, but also to start building that successful footprint.” , Dobson continued.
“Next year, whether it’s Friday night or Thursday night, a little more consistency in this prime-time space is something that I think is the next evolution for next year.
“It certainly stood out on us and (we had) a lot of comments from fans that they wanted to watch (at that point) and there are opportunities there so I think it’s fair that we start to not only build on the number of matches (broadcast), but how do we make them as big as possible. “
The next edition of the WBBL will take place in part in conjunction with the 2022 T20 Men’s World Cup, which will take place in Australia from October 16 to November 13.
Dobson acknowledged that the clash would require careful consideration when creating the WBBL | 08 schedule, but was confident the two tournaments could feed off of each other.
“We will need to work closely with our broadcasters on how we plan this,” he said.
“It’s the strongest cricket league in the world for women if not (the strongest) period, and we’ll be working really hard and smart on how we schedule this World Cup.
“But in some ways it gives us an opportunity.
“There will be so much hype and interest in cricket at large (at that time) and we will have the best players playing in the WBBL and the best male players in the World Cup and I think the two events can really help energize each other. “
WBBL | 07 was the most watched season of all time, with a 15% increase in WBBL | 06 cumulative average audiences and higher average audiences per game, which Dobson attributed to the increase in the number of matches on television.
“It shows when you have all the games on TV, the fans are able to really follow the narrative of the season, and then you have storylines like (Strikers strike) Katie Mack at the end of the season,” he said. he declared. .
“When you have all of the games available on TV, it allows fans to really get involved in not only who wins and who is at the top of the ladder, but also all of those individual storylines that are so rich in the WBBL. . “
WBBL | 07 was the second edition held in the context of COVID-19, and where last season took place entirely in a Sydney hub, this year’s tournament has moved across Australia’s ‘zero Covid’ states , traveling from Tasmania to South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.
It took place with a few hiccups; there was a three-day lockdown in Hobart that barred fans from attending the opening weekend, and the Strikers traveled to Perth on Friday ahead of the final just 24 hours before WA closed its borders with HER.
On the field, the competition also shone; Scorchers opener Beth Mooney won the BKT Golden Bat with 547 points for the tournament, continuing her exceptional record as the only player to score 400 points each season.
Amanda-Jade Wellington’s brilliant finals streak, highlighted by her 5-8 in The Eliminator against Brisbane Heat, catapulted her to the top of the BKT Golden Arm rankings with 23 wickets.
Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian player to be named player of the tournament, while five centuries were marked in Weber WBBL | 07, three by foreign players, just behind the six centuries marked in WBBL | 04.
Darcie Brown’s hat-trick against the Brisbane Heat was the sixth hat-trick since the inception of the WBBL, as there were two Super Over finishes – with Scorchers captain Sophie Devine the game-winning hero each time.
“From a pitch perspective, I thought this was the year the competition took a turn in terms of sheer depth of talent involved,” said Dobson.
“Eight really competitive teams all (10 or more) have players who become household names.
“When you look at the types of players Channel Seven uses on the mike on the broadcast, they are so diverse, and each of them brings unique perspective and storylines.
“I think the fans realize that pretty quickly. Every game that you can tune in and watch or attend, there’s something really unique going on.
“What stands out from the perspective of the WBBL is simply the accessibility of the players, their openness and their willingness not only to play the best cricket possible, but also to be part of the promotion and to engage with. broadcasters and doing it in such a fun way that people can’t help but be drawn to it. “