Cricket Australia targets T20 inclusion at Brisbane 2032 as part of new strategic plan

  • CA aiming to ‘turbocharge’ participation and improve cricket’s financial sustainability
  • BBL and WBBL facing new challenges as more T20 franchise competitions pop up

Cricket Australia (CA), the national governing body, has unveiled a five-year blueprint it hopes will ‘turbocharge’ participation in the sport and improve the game’s financial sustainability.

Priorities through to 2027 will be to strengthen the engagement between fans and players, continue to produce world class teams, entrench a strong and innovative business model, and establish a framework for cricket’s positive social impact.

Getting fans back into stadiums has also been earmarked, with particular emphasis on the Big Bash League (BBL) and Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) domestic Twenty20 franchise tournaments. An annual attendance of 1.25 million across both competitions has been targeted as part of a wider goal of an average of 2.4 million fans through the gate in summer.

CA is now facing increased competition for players, as well as eyeballs, for its T20 tournaments from new franchise competitions in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The addition of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) short-form tournament The Hundred has also further crowded the market.

The new rivals come as attendance figures for the 2021/22 BBL season dropped to a new low, with an average of just 7,371 spectators per game. A total of 412,751 spectators attended 56 matches. While Covid has played a role, attendances were in decline pre-pandemic, with the length of the tournament, drawn out games and a lack of player talent all contributing.

Away from the BBL, CA wants cricket to feature at the Brisbane 2032 Olympics, following the reintroduction of the sport with the women’s Twenty20 at this year’s Commonwealth Games, where Australia won gold.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is already pushing for cricket’s inclusion at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

On the participation front, CA’s strategy aims to double the number of children aged five to 12 registered to play cricket to 210,000, and quadruple the number of girls registered in this age group to 60,000 over the next five years.

“Cricket is rapidly evolving and, with that, so too are the ways cricket is played, watched and consumed,” said CA chief executive Nick Hockley.

“This strategy contains both a vision and a clear plan for how we can achieve bold, transformative change while also meeting our core responsibilities.

“This includes ensuring that cricket has a positive social impact, whether by providing more opportunities for women and girls, making the game more accessible to participants from culturally diverse backgrounds or taking the necessary steps to make the game environmentally sustainable.”

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