WATCH: Chris Lynn Clears The Gabba!
The BBL announced this morning it will program an additional home fixture for each BBL club in 2017-18, with the Heat coming off the back of its best-ever home attendance at the Gabba.
Brisbane set three crowd records during the season, with the latest coming on Wednesday night when 35,116 fans packed the Gabba for the semi-final against the Sydney Sixers that was decided in thrilling fashion with a SuperOver.
The crowd meant the Heat attracted 171,877 to its four regular home games as well as the semi-final, with its season average 34,375.
Despite missing the Final, the Heat flourished this season under the bold captaincy of Brendon McCullum, combined with the power of Chris Lynn, the careful planning of coach Dan Vettori and his staff and an improving young bowling attack.
Heat General Manager Andrew McShea congratulated the BBL on the decision to expand the number of home matches available to clubs.
“In a sense we already had our first taste of expansion last year with the addition of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League,’’ he said.
“The WBBL’s second season was played in front of record crowds and TV audiences and is a resounding endorsement of the overall League. The club is very proud of the performances of both our teams with the WBBL Heat’s achievement to also make the semi-finals in just their second year.”
“But this is an exciting step forward for the Heat and, coming off such an exciting and successful home season, we are confident the club will benefit significantly.”
“We’ll carefully consider what is best, for this season and beyond, in order to deliver on the BBL’s mission to increase cricket’s overall fan base and attracting new fans to the sport,” McShea said.
The move to expand the competition will see each BBL Club allocated an additional home match each season (moving from four to five) and increase each Club’s regular season fixtures from eight to ten.
Queensland Cricket Chief Executive Officer Max Walters said Queensland Cricket would keep an open mind on the options available to it with regards staging an extra ‘home’ match in BBL|07.
“In addition to the world class Gabba, Queensland is very fortunate to have access to some outstanding stadia and infrastructure to host cricket,’’ he said.
“Queensland Cricket and Cricket Australia have played first class matches in the past few years in Mackay, Cairns and Townsville while the Heat enjoyed a successful pre-season on the Sunshine Coast this summer. It’s been great to be able to take elite cricket to the regions and we have had excellent support from the State Government and local councils and cricket bodies wherever we have gone,” he said.
McShea said a number of factors would be considered as part of the planning process in the months ahead, including the minimum standards to deliver BBL and WBBL matches.