Festival weekends highlight standalone WBBL
Women's Big Bash moves to standalone tournament early in the season with more matches played in prime time
12 June 2019, 12:57 PM AEST
The first standalone season of the Rebel WBBL will begin with a blockbuster Sydney Smash under lights at North Sydney Oval on October 18.
The Women’s Big Bash has moved to its own window for the first time this season, highlighted by seven consecutive festival weekends around the country that will culminate in a Finals Festival Weekend on December 7-8, giving the country’s best female players an opportunity to take centre stage in a landmark shift away from the men’s KFC BBL.
More WBBL|05 matches will be played in prime time – broadcast on the Seven Network, Fox Sports and Kayo – while the action will be spread across capital cities and regional centres, giving fans around the country the chance to watch the stars of the Australian women’s team alongside a host of the best players from around the globe.
The revamped WBBL will be the perfect lead-in for what will be a blockbuster international season that culminates in the T20 World Cup, to be played on Australian soil for the first time in February and March.
“This is monumental for the women’s game,” Cricket Australia Executive General Manager Fan Engagement Anthony Everard said.
“The players showed that last year with more totals of over 150 than the previous three seasons of the rebel WBBL combined, all culminating into an incredible standalone Finals Festival Weekend.
“Moving the entire tournament to its own standalone period is the first step towards achieving that ultimate goal of being the best women’s league in the world, giving the world’s best female cricketers from across the globe the platform to show fans what they are capable of.”
North Sydney Oval will host the opening weekend on October 18-20, with Sydney Sixers, Sydney Thunder and Brisbane Heat to feature in three matches across the three days.
Elsewhere, WBBL|05 will be launched with matches between Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades at Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide, and between Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes at the CitiPower Centre in Melbourne.
Brisbane’s Allan Border Field, the WACA Ground in Perth, Karen Rolton Oval, Drummoyne Oval in Sydney, Blundstone Arena in Hobart and the CitiPower Centre at Junction Oval will also hold festival weekends.
Outside of the festival weekends, Burnie, Mackay, Launceston and Ballarat are among the regional centres included in the WBBL|05 schedule.
The season will culminate in a Finals Festival Weekend on December 7-8, with the team finishing on top of the ladder to host both semi-finals and the grand final.
“This is something we’ve been building towards and last year’s final series has proved that the rebel WBBL is ready to stand on its own two feet,” Everard said.
“The volume of televised content nearly doubled last season, with the 23 broadcast matches averaging 213,000 on Seven and Fox Cricket.
“To build on this, fans will have a more consistent broadcast offering this season, with seven consecutive festival weekends around the country broadcast live, with all remaining matches streamed on cricket.com.au.
"Festival weekends will also give families the best chance to come and experience the game all around the country.”
In all, 23 matches will be broadcast on Seven, Fox Cricket and Kayo, with the remainder live streamed on cricket.com.au.
In WBBL|04, Brisbane Heat became the first non-Sydney club to take out the title, upsetting the star-studded Sydney Sixers in a sold-out final at Drummoyne Oval that was watched by a record-breaking television audience of 479,000 across Seven and Fox Cricket.
WBBL|05 Festival Weekends
- Sydney Festival Weekend | North Sydney Oval – October 18-20
- Brisbane Festival Weekend | AB Field – October 26-27
- Perth Festival Weekend | WACA – November 1-3
- Adelaide Festival Weekend | Karen Rolton Oval – November 9-10
- Sydney Festival Weekend | Drummoyne Oval – November 15-17
- Hobart Festival Weekends | Blundstone Arena - November 22-24
- Melbourne Festival Weekend | CitiPower Centre at Junction Oval - November 30 – December 1
- Finals Festival Weekend | Venue TBC – December 7-8