WBBL to become stand-alone tournament
Women's Big Bash to go it alone from WBBL|05, Cricket Australia has confirmed
2 May 2018, 10:43 AM AEST
The Rebel Women's Big Bash League will shift to a stand-alone tournament from 2019-20 to open Australia's summer of cricket.
The growth of the WBBL has provided a welcome headache for Cricket Australia in the past two years, culminating in debate surrounding last summer's finals scheduling.
CA have long aimed to have the tournament grow separate to the men's, as evidenced by the fact the men's and women's competition will be held as their own events when Australia hosts the World T20 in 2020.
And chief executive James Sutherland has now confirmed his organisation will follow suit with the women's domestic Twenty20 league, beginning with the summer after next.
"In 2019-20 the women's T20 Big Bash League will move into the October-November period," Sutherland told SEN radio this week.
"It will be the primary cricket that is on through that period.
"The reason why it's not this year is because there is a World T20 event for the women in the Caribbean."
The move will guarantee women's cricket to be the first on free-to-air television for future summers, with 24 games set to be broadcast by both the Seven Network and Fox Sports in each of the next six summers.
While this year's WBBL will still partner with the men's, the women will again be the first broadcast on television with a T20 series against New Zealand to kick off in September.
The move will also help fill a gap early in the telecast summer, given men's Tests rarely start before mid-November and don't begin until December this summer.
More than 9000 people attended the opening two day of the WBBL at North Sydney Oval last year, while 350,000 people watched the opening night on TV.