The good news just keeps coming for the Big Bash League.
Interest in the Twenty20 competition has hit fever pitch this season, with extraordinary television ratings proving that Australia’s summer has a new sporting force.
The crowds have been immense, too – topped by the 80,883 that saw a Melbourne derby between the Stars and the Renegades at the MCG earlier this month.
A Fairfax Media report published on Monday shows that – before Sunday’s double header – the competition was attracting average crowds of 28,279.
Those numbers are up around 5,000 fans per match and sees the Big Bash League ninth in the top 10 attended sports leagues in the world.
And they aren’t far behind the fifth-placed AFL (average crowd of 33,428) either.
At the moment, the Big Bash League comprises of eight teams who play just eight regular season matches – with four sides making finals.
In December, Big Bash chief Anthony Everard told The New Daily expansion was being contemplated – but that they wouldn’t do it without good reason.
“The public are voting with their feet and through the viewership that there’s strong demand for this competition,” he said.
“(But) it’s not more games or more teams for expansion’s sake. There’s got to be a strong logic to it.
“It’s got to be consistent with our strategic view, which is attracting new fans to the sport.
“If there are particular markets in Australia, outside of the capital cities, that we feel are not being serviced by elite cricket – is there a role for playing BBL games in those markets?
“And in the longer term, is there a role for a team there?”
“We’ve just got to make sure that we are doing it for all the right decisions.”
Top 10 most watched sports leagues (average crowds, 2015/16)
1. NFL 68,278
2. German Bundesliga 43,331
3. US College Football Division I FBL 43,288
4. English Premier League 36,464
5. AFL 33,428
6. Indian Premier League 31,750*
7. Major League Baseball 30,517
8. La Liga 28,498
9. Big Bash League 28,279
10. Nippon Professional Baseball 28,248
* IPL figures are from 2014 tournament when first 20 games were played in the UAE and are unofficial. Source: Fairfax