Big stadiums beckon for shorter WBBL in November

Cricket Australia have declared the November period remains the right window for the WBBL, announcing a shorter season with more games in big stadiums.

Officials unveiled a 43-game schedule on Tuesday, with Adelaide and Brisbane to open the season on October 27 as part of an Adelaide Oval double-header.

The league will move to a home-finals system before it rounds out on December 1, while the Gabba will join the SCG and MCG in also hosting regular-season games this year.

The season itself will be cut from six-and-a-half weeks to five, in a move to continue to draw back international talent after the October T20 World Cup.

The window does mean mid-week games remain a constant, but the majority have been pushed to night-time slots rather than during the school day.

Regardless, officials remain adamant November is the right time for the league rather than the summer holidays.

"In November the WBBL can still be the most high-profile cricket in the country in that window," BBL boss Alistair Dobson said.

Alistair Dobson
Big Bash Leagues General Manager Alistair Dobson says November remains the right time for the WBBL. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

"If you played it in December and January, you might free up some things.

"But then you're also up against two really high-profile cricket series, being the Test summer and BBL.

"We've shown in November the WBBL rates really well. It's the most-watched sporting league in that window in a really competitive time of year.

"Building crowds remains a really important thing for us to continue to do. That's why the stadium series is such a big part of our strategy."

In a boost for the league, AAP has been told that 30 of the 40 regular-season games will now have DRS available, an increase on the 20 of 56 from last year.

Third-umpire capabilities are likely to be available in all other matches, following a strong push from players after multiple blunders last season.

Also notable is the fact eight games will be played at the SCG, MCG, Gabba and Adelaide Oval, while another 10 are at Test venues in the WACA and Blundstone Arena.

"I think we have a pretty good mix this year," Dobson said.

"We're only in tier-one or tier-two venues now. We're in either Test venues or iconic WBBL venues.

"Our ambition isn't necessarily to move the whole competition into stadiums, because there are different dynamics there."


October 27: Season-opening Adelaide Oval double-header

November 9: WBBL returns to the Gabba

November 10: SCG double-header, featuring Sydney smash

November 15: MCG double-header, featuring Melbourne derby

November 27: Finals begin, with home-stadium advantage

December 1: Final