Cricket Australia adamant November is right window for Women’s Big Bash, double-headers with BBL, fixtures, dates, venues, cricket news, video

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Cricket Australia remains adamant that November is still “the right window” for the Women’s Big Bash League despite the recent success of double-headers for rival T20 league The Hundred.

On Monday morning, CA revealed its schedule for the tenth edition of the WBBL, which gets underway on Sunday, October 27, seven days after the Women’s T20 World Cup final in Bangladesh.

The WBBL, reduced to 43 matches this season to align with the men’s competition, has been cut down from nearly seven weeks to five, with hopes the shorter format will be more appealing to overseas players.

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The workload for the sport’s leading players has increased dramatically over the past few years due to an expanded ICC Women’s Championship and the growth of high-paying T20 leagues, including India’s WPL and England’s The Hundred.

England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt has already confirmed she won’t nominate for this summer’s WBBL due to workload management, while Indian superstar Smiriti Mandhana has opted to miss the two most recent editions of the tournament.

This season’s WBBL also features fewer weekday afternoon matches courtesy of the shortened schedule, with a higher proportion of games occurring in the prime time evening slot.

However, the WBBL could still see overseas players miss stages of this season’s tournament due to international commitments. South Africa will host England for a multi-format series from late November, which clashes with the WBBL finals, while India is due to face New Zealand for a six-match white-ball series after the T20 World Cup, dates for which are yet to be confirmed.

WBBL season reduced to 40 matches | 01:01

The WBBL became a standalone tournament in 2019, shifting away from the men’s competition to secure its own window in the Australian sporting calendar.

The T20 tournament remains the most-watched sports league at that time of the year, bettering the AFLW with free-to-air coverage reaching over 2.1 million Australians last season — numbers that don’t include viewers on Foxtel and streaming platform Kayo.

However, England’s The Hundred competition has drawn massive crowds by stacking women’s and men’s games as double-headers at the same stadium, spurring calls for the WBBL to return to the school holidays alongside the BBL.

“I’ve seen what double-headers do,” Sydney Sixers coach Charlotte Edwards saidlast summer.

“I think for me that’s the way forward.”

Speaking to Fox Cricket this week, CA’s Head of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson declared that November was still “the right window for the WBBL” due to the competition’s increased prominence as a standalone tournament.

The WBBL would risk being overshadowed by men’s Test cricket if it returned to the December-January window, which is already the busiest period of the Australian home summer.

“We see great opportunity in having the world’s best cricket league for women taking the prime place in that time of year,” Dobson explained.

“Access to prime time coverage, access to the best venues and giving our clubs the opportunity to focus on the WBBL in that period of time is really important.

“That’s where it will stay.”

Georgia Redmayne of the Brisbane Heat celebrates stumping Laura Wolvaardt. Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

A record-breaking 95,124 fans attended last season’s WBBL, with 12,379 spectators witnessing December’s final between the Strikers and the Heat at Adelaide Oval.

As part of the Women and Girls Action Plan that was announced in April, CA is targeting 600,000 fans attending women’s cricket in Australia each summer by 2034. Last season, the combined attendance for women’s international matches and the WBBL was approximately 120,000.

The WBBL’s attendance remains significantly lower than The Hundred’s women’s competition, which saw nearly 300,000 fans walking through the gates in 2023. The Hundred’s matches are billed as double-headers with women’s teams playing in the afternoon and men in the evening, a decision that has seen crowd numbers skyrocket.

“The double-header model wasn’t the original proposition,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison explained in 2021.

“We were forced to do that through Covid. But actually it’s turned out to be one of the best things that’s happened.

“It was an enforced change which has turned into a huge benefit.”

To avoid the women’s competition being perceived as a “warm-up” for the main event, The Hundred’s marketing actively encouraged fans to attend both games for a whole-day experience.

“I would hazard a guess that had they not been double-headers, we would not have had the crowds that we have had,” former England bowler and World Cup champion Andy Shrubsole told the BBC.

Strikers are back-to-back WBBL champions | 00:40

Double-headers also prompted large crowds during the WBBL’s inaugural season nearly a decade ago, with almost 13,000 fans watching the Melbourne derby at the MCG in January 2016, which occurred a few hours before the equivalent men’s match.

Meanwhile, the Gabba will host a WBBL match for the first time in six years this summer, with the Brisbane Heat facing reigning champions Adelaide Strikers at the iconic venue on Saturday, November 9. Adelaide Oval, the SCG and the MCG will also host WBBL matches in an expanded ‘Stadium Series’.

The WBBL final is scheduled for Sunday, December 1, the day after the AFL Women’s Grand Final.

WBBL SCHEDULE FOR 2024/25 SEASON

All times local

Sunday, October 27, 2024 – Adelaide Strikers vs Brisbane Heat at Adelaide Oval, 1:10pm

Sunday, October 27, 2024 – Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney Sixers at Adelaide Oval, 4:40pm

Sunday, October 27, 2024 – Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Stars at the WACA, 5:30pm

Monday, October 28, 2024 – Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Thunder at Blundstone Arena, 6:10pm

Tuesday, October 29, 2024 – Sydney Sixers vs Adelaide Strikers at North Sydney Oval, 6:10pm

Wednesday, October 30, 2024 – Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Renegades at Allan Border Field, 6:10pm

Thursday, October 31, 2024 – Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes at North Sydney Oval, 7:15pm

Friday, November 1, 2024 – Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Thunder at North Sydney Oval, 3:45pm

Friday, November 1, 2024 – Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Stars at North Sydney Oval, 7:15pm

Saturday, November 2, 2024 – Brisbane Heat vs Hobart Hurricanes at CitiPower Centre, 11.30am

Saturday, November 2, 2024 – Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorchers at CitiPower Centre, 3pm

Sunday, November 3, 2024 – Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes at CitiPower Centre, 10.10am

Sunday, November 3, 2024 – Melbourne Renegades vs Adelaide Strikers at CitiPower Centre, 1.40pm

Tuesday, November 5, 2024 – Perth Scorchers vs Brisbane Heat at the WACA, 5:10pm

Wednesday, November 6, 2024 – Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers at Blundstone Arena, 6:10pm

Thursday, November 7, 2024 – Sydney Thunder vs Brisbane Heat at the WACA, 2:05pm

Thursday, November 7, 2024 – Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Renegades at the WACA, 5:35pm

Friday, November 8, 2024 – Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers at CitiPower Centre, 11am

Saturday, November 9, 2024 – Melbourne Renegades vs Melbourne Stars at CitiPower Centre, 3pm

Saturday, November 9, 2024 – Brisbane Heat vs Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba, 6:15pm

Sunday, November 10, 2024 – Hobart Hurricanes vs Perth Scorchers at the SCG, 10:10am

Sunday, November 10, 2024 – Sydney Sixers vs Sydney Thunder at the SCG, 1:40pm

Monday, November 11, 2024 – Adelaide Strikers vs Melbourne Renegades at Karen Rolton Oval, 5:40pm

Tuesday, November 12, 2024 – Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers at Drummoyne Oval, 6:10pm

Wednesday, November 13, 2024 – Hobart Hurricanes vs Adelaide Strikers at Blundstone Arena, 6:10pm

Thursday, November 14, 2024 – Sydney Sixers vs Brisbane Heat at North Sydney Oval, 3:30pm

Friday, November 15, 2024 – Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Thunder at the MCG, 3:45pm

Friday, November 15, 2024 – Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades at the MCG, 7:15pm

Saturday, November 16, 2024 – Adelaide Strikers vs Hobart Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval, 3pm

Sunday, November 17, 2024 – Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat at Drummoyne Oval, 1:55pm

Sunday, November 17, 2024 – Sydney Thunder vs Sydney Sixers at Drummoyne Oval, 5:25pm

Tuesday, November 19, 2024 – Adelaide Strikers vs Perth Scorchers at Karen Rolton Oval, 5:40pm

Wednesday, November 20, 2024 – Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars at Drummoyne Oval, 6:10pm

Thursday, November 21, 2024 – Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers at Blundstone Arena, 3:45pm

Thursday, November 21, 2024 – Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Renegades at Blundstone Arena, 7:15pm

Friday, November 22, 2024 – Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Stars at Allan Border Field, 7:10pm

Saturday, November 23, 2024 – Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney Thunder at CitiPower Centre, 10:00am

Saturday, November 23, 2024 – Perth Scorchers vs Hobart Hurricanes at the WACA, 5:30pm

Sunday, November 24, 2024 – Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers at CitiPower Centre, 10:00am

Sunday, November 24, 2024 – Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Sixers at Allan Border Field, 7:05pm

Wednesday, November 27, 2024 – The Knockout (TBC)

Friday, November 29, 2024 – The Challenger (TBC)

Sunday, December 1, 2024 – The Final (TBC)

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