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KFC T20 deserves its own window
A 37 percent jump in KFC Big Bash T20 TV ratings this week shows that ambitious plans for the format’s expansion as an Aussie-style IPL are well founded.
"The KFC Big Bash season launch this week resulted in big crowds in Brisbane, Perth and Hobart and the Twenty20 cricket on FoxSport was the week's most popular subscription TV viewing," Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said.
"The inclusion of overseas stars such as Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Shahid Afridi is making this season's contest a Bigger Bash, so to speak, and performances by increasingly high profile state players such as Dave Warner, Stephen Smith and Tim Paine this week are also helping the turnstiles click faster".
"Our long term planning has a way to go but I could see the time come when the KFC Big Bash has its own summer time window so that we can bolster it even further by having our Test and ODI players available for interstate Twenty20 duties".
Mr Sutherland thought that strong performances by NSW and Victoria in the inaugural Airtel Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) best-versus-the-best tournament against winning sides from the IPL and equivalent contests in England, South Africa and elsewhere had also captured Australian fans' imaginations, which added further interest to this week's KFC Big Bash launch.
NSW won CLT20's lucrative prize money and bragging rights as the best club championship level T20 team in the world and Victoria was a semi finalist when CLT20 was played in India in October.
The finalists in this summer's KFC Big Bash will automatically qualify for the next Airtel CLT20 and a chance to contest its US$12 million prize money.
The Big Bash continues over the New Year holiday weekend with games in Hobart, Melbourne and Adelaide on January 1, 2 and 3 respectively which are also expected to draw big crowds.
Mr Sutherland said he was pleased KFC Big Bash crowds and ratings were so strong on the same days that the 3 Mobile Boxing Day Test in Melbourne was also drawing good crowds and TV ratings, confirming his long-held view that cricket's different formats can enjoy simultaneous success.
CA and State Associations are urging fans to arrive early at KFC Big Bash matches over the holiday weekend to avoid queues and to avoid the risk of missing early overs.
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