16 Oct

The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) will receive its biggest television footprint to date after Cricket Australia’s (CA) domestic broadcasters committed to wider coverage of the 2020 edition of the T20 competition.

Ahead of the sixth edition of the BBL, pay-television operator Foxtel has announced it will broadcast 36 games – 13 more than last season – on Fox Cricket. This follows the earlier confirmation that free-to-air commercial broadcaster Seven would expand its schedule to 24 games following the success of last season’s first WBBL standing apart from the men’s Big Bash.

The additional televised matches across Fox Cricket and Seven represents a 57-per-cent increase on last season’s broadcast footprint. The entire 59-game tournament will be streamed on the Foxtel-owned Kayo Sports, with 35 matches to be streamed on the CA Live app and Cricket.com.au.

While plans for this season’s BBL have yet to be finalised, CA last month announced that the 2020 WBBL will take place entirely within Sydney, with a WBBL Village concept formed to help stage the tournament.

The season will begin on October 25 and conclude on the weekend of November 28-29. Locations and timings of the three-match finals series matches are still to be confirmed, but North Sydney Oval, Hurstville Oval, Sydney Showground Stadium, Blacktown International Sportspark and Drummoyne Oval will be used for the early stages.

CA said on Thursday (15 October) that the extra televised matches to be shown on Fox Cricket will take place at Blacktown International Sportspark on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings. Alistair Dobson, CA head of Big Bash Leagues, said: “Today’s announcement confirms the rebel WBBL’s position as the world’s best cricket league for women.”

CA and its two domestic broadcasters, Seven and Foxtel, have been in dispute over how changes to cricket schedules and competitions this year due to Covid-19 have affected the values of their deals.

Seven pays around A$82m (US$58.1m) per year to CA for its rights in a six-year deal from 2018-19 to 2023-24. Fox Sports pays just over A$110m (US$78m) per season in a deal covering the same period. The deals are together worth a total of A$1.18bn (US$836,280m) over the period.

John Stephenson


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