The bumper opening weekend of the Rebel Women's Big Bash League in Sydney has proved to be enormous success with record ratings, crowd numbers and interest among fans.
Network Ten’s coverage of four matches across Saturday and Sunday - including a match in prime time on Saturday night - was a hit with viewers, attracting significantly higher ratings than last summer’s season average.
On Saturday evening, session two of the Sydney Thunder-Melbourne Stars clash drew 432,000 viewers nationally – up 67 per cent on last summer’s season average – and peaked at 637,000.
In the capital cities alone, the viewership of session two was up 77 per cent on WBBL|01 and it ranked as the most-watched WBBL match ever.
Across the weekend, an average of 293,000 viewers nationally watched Network Ten’s live, free and exclusive coverage – up 14 per cent from the WBBL|01 average – with a peak national audience of 449,000.
"We are encouraged by the ratings for the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League," Network Ten Executive Big Bash David Barham said.
"We are committed to its long-term growth and believe that with a consistent effort over the next few seasons, it will grow into a strong, standalone television sport."
Crowds also flocked to North Sydney Over for the opening matches of WBBL|02.
More than 6000 fans turned out to witness the world’s best Twenty20 players across the two days, enjoying the family friendly entertainment and electric atmosphere that only the Big Bash can deliver.
Crowds were treated to six high quality, high energy matches on the field while off the field families enjoyed plenty of other activities in the specially created kid’s activation zone.
"It was fantastic to start the second season of the WBBL in such positive fashion, with thousands of fans coming to watch the great matches at North Sydney Oval and many more across the country tuning in to Network Ten’s wonderful broadcast as well our own live stream," Head of Big Bash League Anthony Everard said.
"It was also particularly pleasing to see the number of young girls in attendance over the weekend, showing the WBBL is achieving its goal of providing women and girls with a visible example of how they can participate in cricket both as players and fans and giving us great hope for the rest of WBBL|02.
"Given the success of the WBBL opening weekend, we are looking forward to it becoming a permanent fixture on the cricketing calendar and one of the highlights of the summer."
For the first time, every match of WBB|02 is being streamed live and free on cricket.com.au, the Cricket Australia Live App and on the WBBL Facebook Page.
The opening weekend saw more than 60,000 unique views for live streaming and more than one million views of on-demand highlights.
The #WBBL02 hashtag trended at #1 on Twitter nationally on Sunday with #SmashEmSixers trending at #1 in Sydney. #ThunderNation trended at #2 in Brisbane, while Deandra Dottin trended at #2 nationally.