May 032013

A two-day Cricket Australia Board strategy review meeting, which finished Friday, has decided to:

• Maintain the KFC T20 Big Bash League (BBL) competition structure of eight launch teams, including two teams each in Melbourne and in Sydney. • Commence BBL fixtures in late December to maximise attendances and viewing audiences through having a maximum number of games post-Christmas. Average attendances post-Christmas jumped 50% compared to the same time the previous summer. • The Hobart Hurricanes were issued with a fine of $10,000 for a breach of the BBL reporting requirements relating to Additional Service Agreements (ASA).  The Board felt that enforcing the rules relating to ASA compliance was important in maintaining the competitive balance in the League. • Financially support the proposed development of a Victorian Cricket and Community Centre at Melbourne’s Junction Oval. • The CA Board was updated on the ongoing review into Cricket Australia’s integrity management, which includes anti-doping policies and disciplinary processes, domestic cricket anti-corruption and CA’s involvement in the ICC’s global anti-corruption program. The Board expects to receive A full report from Adrian Anderson in June.

 The meeting also noted a range of data, including new fan research from a number of independent research organisations, shows cricket continues to be Australia’s favourite sport, with strong public passion levels, continued overall attendance growth, strong TV viewership and reach, number-one status as a participation sport and rating of the men’s national team as Australia’s favourite sports team by a considerable margin. Test cricket continues to enjoy strong public support, awareness levels for BBL continued to grow and is achieving its strategic objective of attracting new fans to cricket. Research showed that 13% of all BBL|02 attendees attended a cricket game for the first time. More than half (55%) of all BBL|02  attendees were families and/or children aged 5-15. ODI cricket continues to be globally popular and the ICC 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is likely to attract a one billion TV audience. But the amount of annual ODI cricket in Australia is likely to be reduced compared to historic levels, now that three formats are the norm (Test, T20I, ODI), with a “less is more” approach helping to retain the existing strong fan support for ODIs. On other issues, CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said CA Directors were updated on current media rights discussions and agreed that the commercial and competitive sensitivity of the issue meant public comment would not be appropriate until new broadcast arrangements are finalised.  BBL Mr Sutherland said BBL had, in two short seasons, established itself as a high-profile part of the Australian sporting landscape, successfully established eight new teams which when added to the international matches continues to attract record domestic cricket attendances, and engage new audiences – 10% of season one and 13% of season two attendees had never been to a game before. However, season two had shown that post-Christmas fixtures were significantly more popular than dates early in December. The Board endorsed BBL review findings that reinforced the strategic and financial importance of two teams in Sydney and Melbourne and regional teams appeared more likely to be prospects as expansion teams in the future. The financial results of the KFC T20 Big Bash League were presented, with a consolidated $1.5m surplus being reported for Domestic Twenty20 operations. The result was achieved through solid increases in sponsorship, media rights and Champions League Twenty20 returns. Victorian Cricket and Community Centre The Board agreed to provide $4 million towards the proposed development of a Victorian Cricket and Community Centre at the Junction Oval, which could host Bupa Sheffield Shield, international warm-up cricket and women’s elite cricket away from the MCG. Support is subject to Federal, State Government and other support for the project. CA noted the national importance to Australian cricket of the cricket talent within Victoria’s 5.4 million population having access to infrastructure needed for such talent to develop to the modern standards demanded of elite cricketers, and also noted top cricket had progressively been squeezed out of a range of traditional Melbourne venues and needed similar, exclusive facilities to those that other states enjoy.

First Posted 03 May, 2013 4:58PM AEDT

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