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A
Agencies
July 18, 2018
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BBL to clash with Sri Lanka Test match

Sports

A
Agencies
July 18, 2018

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PERTH: A vastly expanded Big Bash League will be in direct competition with a Test for the first time in a sign of how tightly Cricket Australia has been forced to squeeze in the season in order to fit in a full home and away schedule.

The 2018 season will be 13 days longer than the previous edition. While the governing body is to officially launch the tournament on Wednesday, the full schedule was published on Tuesday evening by News Corp, owner of the new rights holders Fox Sports, which will show every match of the competition on its pay television service. The free-to-air network Channel Seven will air 43 of the 59 games stretching from December 19 to February 17. There will be pressure on all sides to get the tournament’s audiences growing again.

As CA has moved towards expanding the BBL, there has been a small but notable downward trend in television viewership over the past three seasons on the Ten network. From a peak of audience interest in the 2015-16 summer, viewing audiences shrank by 6% in 2016-17, and by a further 10% in 2017-18. All this is according to OzTam’s five-city metro average audience figures - the recognised television industry standard in Australia.

With the Perth Scorchers and the Adelaide Strikers proving to be dominant forces over the past two seasons and the Hobart Hurricanes also performing strongly, there will be some eagerness for the major-market Melbourne and Sydney teams to perform at a higher level and thus drive audiences in Australia’s two largest cities.Whether the audience will grow or be further diluted by its simulcast across both Seven and Fox Sports is one of many questions to be posed this summer.

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