Big Bash looks to Christmas clash
A December 25 Twenty20 match could become as much a part of the Australian summer as the Boxing Day Test in future years
21 December 2015, 03:29 PM AEST
The Boxing Day Test is an Australian institution, a hallmark of the summer. The New Year's Eve KFC Big Bash Clash in Adelaide is starting to follow suit after two seasons with sell-out crowds and a fervent atmosphere.
Soon, a third holiday season tradition could join them, with Cricket Australia flagging the possibility of a Christmas Day Big Bash match.
If green lighted, it would be a first for Australian sport.
Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager – Operations, Mike McKenna revealed discussions had recently started to explore options for a game on the festive day.
Looking to the Christmas Day success of sporting codes in the US – the National Basketball Association will play five games on December 25, while the NFL hosts a marquee matchup – McKenna said it would present the opportunity to "create something special" for the players and their families.
"It is something we have just recently started discussing, the possibilities of that. We're talking about playing a Christmas Eve match, we already play Boxing Day," McKenna told Crocmedia.
"It would be a big step for a sport in Australia to play on Christmas Day. But as you know, they play fantastic basketball matches in the US on Christmas Day and it's very, very popular with fans and the players themselves seem to enjoy it.
"I think we've got to have discussions about that and look at that into the future."
A Big Bash match on Christmas Day would be a breakthrough for Australian sporting fans. The Australian Football League has several long-standing public holiday traditions, with matches played on Anzac Day, the Queen's Birthday and Easter Sunday, but the end-of-year period has long been out of bounds for sporting codes.
McKenna hinted the TV spectacle for fans would be too hard to refuse down the track.
"If that's something people would like to do on an evening or afternoon on Christmas Day, when there's not much else going on apart from digesting your meal, then I think it's a pretty good option," he said.
"We'd have to talk to the players' association, the teams, the players individually about what they think about it and make sure the right incentives were there.
"It's a big change for domestic cricket players."
As well as Christmas Day, McKenna said future BBL seasons could also host a match on Christmas Eve.
"Australia players have for years been training and staying together in Melbourne preparing for the Boxing Day Test," he said.
"Already international players are away from home and their families join them and it's a pretty good day.
"I think we could make something pretty special for players if we ever went down that path."
As has been the case in rival sporting codes and their endeavours to play on festive holidays, such as Good Friday, McKenna said it wouldn't be an overnight fix for Christmas Day cricket.
"I've got to admit, I haven't even checked to see what you're allowed to do on Christmas Day from a legislative perspective. We'll check that and see if it's something of interest," he said.
"It won't be an immediate thing, we won't be starting to do that next year. It'll take a little bit of time to work through those issues."