The Heat will take on the Melbourne Renegades at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns under lights on Thursday 15 December to open their BBL|12 campaign.
The WBBL Brisbane Heat have been regular visitors to Mackay, with their Weber Women’s Big Bash League games at Great Barrier Reef Arena this summer marking five years of fixtures at the venue.
But it will be the first time the Heat club has played a BBL match outside of either the Gabba or Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
Cazalys Stadium has previously hosted Test, One Day International, first class and domestic one-day games in its history.
The venue will host three day/night Dettol Series ODIs between Australia and New Zealand in September.
The Heat will also feature in its first New Year’s Day game at the Gabba, taking on the Sydney Sixers on the evening of January 1, as well as tackling the Sydney Thunder at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast on 29 December.
In all, Brisbane will play five games at the Gabba as the BBL returns to a full home and away fixture model.
The Heat will host the Adelaide Strikers in a pre-Christmas clash on 23 December, as well as the Sixers (1 Jan), Perth Scorchers (11 Jan), Hobart Hurricanes (20 Jan) and Melbourne Stars (22 Jan).
As well as Cairns, the Heat will make their initial appearances at two away venues, taking on the Sixers at the historic North Sydney Oval and Hurricanes at University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.
Queensland Cricket and Brisbane Heat CEO Terry Svenson said the announcement that the BBL would go to Far North Queensland was the culmination of many years of patient groundwork by all involved.
“Queensland Cricket has been resolute in its ambition to bring more elite level cricket to regional Queensland for many years,’’ he said.
“We have been backed extensively in this regard by our stakeholders, and in this case, the Cairns Regional Council and Cricket Far North have joined with us and AFL Cairns to deliver a ground-breaking initiative for the region,’’ he said.
“AFL Cairns have provided excellent support as we collaborated on the proposal to bring a BBL game to Cazalys, and we have been grateful for the backing of Cricket Australia and especially our broadcast partners Channel 7 and Foxtel to make this a reality.”
“Of course, we congratulate and thank the Cairns Regional Council for their outstanding commitment and look forward to bringing the best of the BBL to Cairns and FNQ these summer holidays.”
“The Brisbane Heat’s purpose is to bring families together and to promote cricket to kids and new audiences, so the prospect of giving thousands of North Queensland kids the opportunity to see their heroes perform live, and hopefully inspire them to then to pick up a bat and ball, is one that greatly excites us,” he said.
Svenson said the club was delighted with the allocation of home games this summer.
"As well as Cairns, we have five games at the Gabba and one at Metricon Stadium and they are all well spaced during the holidays at family friendly timeslots. We will be working hard to sell tickets and deliver a fantasic entertainment experience for the fans,'' he said.
Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning expressed his delight at the announcement on behalf of Far North Queensland residents.
“To be the first regional centre in Queensland to host Big Bash League fixtures is quite a coup and speaks volumes of what Cairns has to offer,’’ he said.
“Certainly, Cazalys has been, and remains, the best cricket ground in regional Australia, and I am pleased to see that we will have some of the world’s top players here in December for the BBL.”
“I know we will all be looking forward to seeing the big hitters from the Brisbane Heat taking to the Cazalys ground, and the way some of these players hit the balls these days, I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before we see a ball or two clear the crowd.”
“Of course, staging one of the country’s most popular sporting competitions has many benefits, from the immediate economic boost to the opportunity to showcase our region to a wider audience. But I always say that these events are all about the kids.”
“I know that Brisbane Heat has committed to hosting junior cricket clinics and club and community visits, which will especially be popular with the youngsters."
“Meeting your sporting heroes and watching them play is something that will stick with these kids for their lifetime,’’ Mayor Manning said.
Memberships and tickets for this summer’s Heat WBBL and BBL matches go on-sale to the public at 2pm, August 18 (AEST) through Ticketek.
The Heat has announced 11 players so far, with a further seven signings to be completed including three overseas players from the upcoming international player draft next month.
Brisbane is keeping open contract spots on its 2022-23 list to provide opportunities for players who impress in the inaugural KFC T20 Max competition in August and September to potentially join the BBL club.