The Big Bash League will be trimmed down to 43 games, 18 less than the current length, from the 2024-25 season. The revamp is part of a new seven-year domestic broadcast deal struck by Cricket Australia with Foxtel Group and Seven West Media.
BBL to be trimmed down to 43 games from 2024-25 season
CA said BBL content was reduced in the new deal to allow for "increased player availability, greater proportion of prime-time matches and stronger alignment with school holidays."
BBL was last played in the 43-game (incl three post-league matches) format in the 2017-18 season and has since expanded to 61 games including a finals series featuring five matches. The length of the tournament has come for criticism given that the best Australian players representing the national team seldom played in the home-grown T20 league.
The ongoing season of the league, which will see the participation of both David Warner (Sydney Thunder) and Steve Smith (Sydney Sixers) post the completion of the New Year's Test, will lose a lot of overseas talents to the SA20 and ILT20 leagues. It is something the league hopes to avoid with the change in the future seasons.
Seven-year broadcast deal worth AUD 1.5 billion
The new broadcast deal, which will run from mid 2024 till the end of the 2030-31 season, has been signed for a value of AUD 1.5 billion. Seven and Foxtel paid AUD 1.18 billion in 2018 for the current six-year deal, wresting the rights from the Nine Network which held them for more than 40 years.
However, Seven and CA had been at loggerheads over content since 2020, with the broadcaster threatening to pull out of the ongoing contract and filing proceedings at the Federal Court of Australia in June. As part of this contract extension, now running until 2031, Seven has also agreed to end legal action against CA over a perceived lack of quality in the BBL, the country's domestic T20 tournament.
Seven said on Tuesday it would pay AUD 65 million a year in the new deal, a 13% reduction on the current one, and would save more than AUD 50 million in cash over the term from reduced fees and production costs.