The Big Bash League’s dominance over the summer of Test cricket has been highlighted with another crowd record tumbling.
Defending champions Perth Scorchers announced on Friday their remaining two home fixtures had sold out, making them the first franchise to sell out their full four-match regular season home match schedule in the BBL’s five-year history.
It means the four games at the 20,000-capacity Waca Ground will dwarf the crowd figures from the drawn Test match against New Zealand played at the venue in November.
Only 40,288 people turned out across the five days of the Test, at an average of just over 8,000 fans per day. In comparison, a combined 39,762 fans have already attended the Scorchers’ opening two BBL home games.
It is also anticipated that Saturday’s Melbourne derby between the Stars and Renegades could outdraw the 53,389 who attended the opening day of the Boxing Day Test against the out-matched Windies last week.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has already acknowledged that the BBL has impacted on Test crowds.
“Look, the numbers would indicate that, yes,” Sutherland told ABC Grandstand recently. “The Big Bash League has changed the dynamic a lot, and let’s be open, all over the country it has cannibalised the demand for international cricket.”
Average BBL crowd figures have risen to 22,597 across the 13 matches so far this summer, more than the single-day attendance numbers at any of the Brisbane, Perth and Hobart Tests this year.
The lowest crowd figure at any of this summer’s BBL matches is the 14,868 for the Hobart-Brisbane match, which is still just 475 fans shy of the total attendance across the three days of the Hobart Test match.
CA has already hinted at the inclusion of day-night pink-ball Tests at the Gabba and Blundstone Arena next year to attract more fans, however there is no chance of a shift in Perth given the time zone difference to the east coast.