WBBL standalone season proving an early hit
Ratings soar after the Women's Big Bash's historic move to its own window this season
8 November 2019, 07:31 AM AEST
Cricket Australia's gamble to move the Women's Big Bash to the start of summer has paid off in viewing numbers, with the league's free-to-air ratings up 25 per cent.
In its maiden iteration as a standalone competition, the tournament is benefiting from the clear air at the start of the summer with the rise compared to the same round last season.
Any fears about the move to a standalone season have now seemingly been allayed, with the success pushing the Seven Network to seriously consider moving more matches from 7Mate to their primary channel.
An average audience of 236,000 tuned in for Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy's record 199-run stand for the Sydney Sixers against the Melbourne Stars on Seven.
"It's proof we made the right decision to pull the WBBL into its own window," Sixers general manager Jodie Hawkins said.
"The players have been really respectful to working with the broadcaster and also played some really good cricket."
Crowds are, however, slightly down for the league, after they also experienced a drop last season on the back of less double headers.
"We knew we were going to take a hit there in order to build a stand-alone window," Hawkins said.
"We're okay with that, because the ratings have been really positive.
"It's going to take some time to educate around attendances in October and November.
"But you've got to make the change at some point and the ratings are telling us that we made the right choice, and the crowds will come."
On the field the competition has kept pace with last year's standard.
The run-rate has dropped slightly from 7.23 to 7.19 an over, while close to the same amount of boundaries are on track to be hit.
The figures come in a huge summer for the women's game, ahead of Australia's home title defence of their Twenty20 World Cup title in February and March.