The WBBL Brisbane Heat will have greater visibility than ever with the release today of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League fixtures for 2018-19.
The Heat will play matches in Brisbane, Mackay and Cairns in WBBL|04, as well as having six games televised on Channel 7 and FOX Sports as part of Cricket Australia’s new broadcast deal.
The team will feature in two double-headers with the men’s Heat, with this year’s KFC Big Bash League fixture list to be announced soon.
After attracting 7,795 fans to its two games at Harrup Park in Mackay last season, the Heat will return to the city for a repeat showing when they host the Adelaide Strikers on Saturday night 5 January and Melbourne Renegades on the afternoon of Sunday 6 January 2019.
The Heat will also play for the first time at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns, taking on the Sydney Thunder under lights on Saturday 12 January 2019, their last regular season game before the WBBL finals series.
It marks the first time a WBBL game has been played in Far North Queensland, with the venue having previously hosted international and domestic men’s matches.
Queensland Cricket CEO Max Walters said the WBBL had generated an enthusiastic response last season when Harrup Park hosted two matches.
“It was certainly noted that Mackay fans turned out in force to support the Heat last summer,’’ he said.
“We are keen to build on the continued growth of women’s and girls’ cricket, especially in areas like Mackay and Whitsunday. Likewise, girls’ cricket is growing rapidly in FNQ and a match at another high-quality regional venue like Cazalys will be important to help us further strengthen the appeal of cricket to families.”
“We are grateful to Mackay and Cairns Regional Councils for their continued support for cricket and thank them for working with us to provide infrastructure and support for the grassroots as well as attract teams like the WBBL Heat to their regions,” he said.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said the region was excited to be hosting the WBBL Brisbane Heat for two games again this summer.
“The two WBBL games we hosted at Harrup Park last summer were a huge success and we’re sure there will be another huge turnout for these games,” Cr Williamson said.
“Mackay is well known for our wonderful cricket facilities, with Harrup Park having hosted Sheffield Shield, an international series involving Australia A, and Bulls Masters versus NSW Baggy Blues games in recent years,’’ he said.
“The venue recently had a major lighting upgrade, which further enhances its ability to showcase major events.”
Harrup Park General Manager Matt Cielens said the venue was thrilled to partner with Mackay Cricket Association to host the matches.
“The games earlier this year were a resounding success, with two of the largest women’s domestic WBBL crowds in attendance highlighting the region’s on-going support for elite sporting content at Harrup Park,’’ he said.
“We’re looking forward to again partnering with Mackay Regional Council, Mackay Cricket and the Brisbane Heat to put on another great spectacle for the people of Mackay,’’ he said.
The WBBL Heat will have six of their matches broadcast on either Channel 7 or FOX Sports with the remainder of their 14 games live-streamed through cricket.com.au
The WBBL Heat season will commence on Sunday December 2, 2018 at the CitiPower Centre at Junction Oval in Melbourne in a televised match.
The Heat will announce details of their player recruitment for WBBL|04 in due course.
In another first for the Heat, the WBBL and BBL squads will feature aligning sponsorship properties on their apparel.
Both teams will carry the logo of principal partner CUA on the front of their playing shirts this season with existing partners Betta Home Living and National Storage also having spots on the playing and training apparel for BBL|08 and WBBL|04.
Inaugural principal partner of the WBBL Heat, EPIC Pharmacy, is continuing as a sponsor of Queensland Cricket and will include branding on the coaching staff apparel for the WBBL Heat.
Fans will experience incredible on field action in WBBL|04, with players from Australia and around the world expected to be in top form off the back of the ICC Women’s World T20 West Indies 2018, which concludes on Saturday 24 November.
WBBL|04 also presents players with the opportunity to showcase their talent for the next major global event for women’s cricket – when the world comes together for the ICC Women’s World T20 Australia 2020.
The tournament will be played in six cities across Australia, culminating in the final at the MCG, which presents a unique opportunity to set a world record for the highest ever attendance at a women’s sporting event.
In a League first, WBBL finals will be stand-alone fixtures, guaranteeing the top ranked team will win the right to host at their home stadium, in front of a home crowd. Both Semi Finals will take place on Saturday 19 December at the one location, with the Final to be played the following weekend on Australia Day, Saturday 26 January.
Across the season, 23 WBBL matches will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS and Seven, almost double the number of televised matches from last season. Fans will also be able to follow the WBBL action live via ABC Radio’s extensive coverage across the country.
In addition to the expanded coverage from broadcasters, Cricket Australia will live stream the remaining WBBL matches on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App.