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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Australia's Big Bash League

Cricket is generally viewed as a rather staid, slow summer game. Gents show up in white, some in sweater vests. Players mostly seem to stand around in the baking sun. Some of the fielders chat with the crowd in slow moments, maybe sign an autograph or two. They do stretches when it's slow. The players all seem to agree to not make each other exert themselves in the hot sun. They take tea breaks. All very civilized.

Enter the Big Bash League where cricket collides with American sports entertainment.



Wow! Six weeks of fast-paced games, big hits, loud music, flash uniforms, corporate sponsors and cheerleaders. This makes cricket exciting. 


Kerry's cousin's husband took us to a game in Brisbane, and am I ever glad he did. We loved it. The game was loud, raucous, and best of all, family-friendly and affordable!

The league runs for just 6 weeks during the summer months and consists of a variety of international players, up and comers, and those just past their prime playing days. There are only 20 overs (for an explanation of the game, and what an over is, see my last post here), which is essentially 120 at bats per team. The games last about three hours. The teams go for big hits to get the most runs. Whoever gets the most runs, wins the game. It moves fast and the crowd is into it.

It is wildly successful for a league that's only a few years old. 

As part of the break in play, Rocketman zoomed around the stadium. He wore a jet pack, made a lot of noise,  and actually went around about 3/4 of the stadium. What's not to love!

Shortly after we went to the game, I came across this piece on-line from Forbes that talks about the league and its popularity. The organizers made little to no effort to cater to current fans, but a huge effort to attract new fans. And it has worked. They are successful with ticket sales, tv viewers and merchandising.  The one bit of info that stood out for me was that this league that is just a few years old has close the same average attendance as Major League Baseball! 

But when you combine a great sport with entertainment, and make it affordable for a family (that is the key for me these days and sadly, becoming less common in the professional sports world), you can't help but have a winning combination. Rocketman doesn't hurt either. 

We only went to the one game. Eamon was keen to get to more. Had time permitted, we probably would have. Instead, he has to make due with his memories, and the BBL player cards he got in his Christmas stocking.








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