I received this message from Robert Drummond from sunny Edinburgh regarding the Big Bash.
Take a listen.
It is only 10 seconds long.
Ok, it was 32 seconds long. I lied. Shoot me.
Firstly, thanks mate for taking the time to send in the question.
Now, my take on why the Big Bash is going nuts at the moment:
Free to Air TV
This is the single biggest reason why the Big Bash is killing it.
Channel Ten paid $100m for the rights to the Big Bash for 5 years.
In the big markets of Melbourne and Sydney, the games are all broadcast live on free to air TV.
Brisbane is one hour behind because their state of Queensland has rejected daylight savings. Apparently it affects the sleeping patterns of their cows or the drapes fade or something.
Adelaide is 30 minutes delayed. I’m not sure what happens in Perth and I’m too lazy to research it.
But it doesn’t matter.
Get Melbourne and Sydney right and you win.
7:10pm starts in summer with every dad and his kids watching balls getting smacked around and flashing bails being skittled is brilliant stuff.
The Franchise System
The 2nd biggest reason why the tournament is successful is the fact that it is no longer linked to state teams.
Instead of Victoria playing NSW, you have two teams each in the country’s biggest markets of Melbourne and Sydney. This instantly creates a talking point, rivalries and in town interest.
It is therefore decoupled from the establishment. The Big Bash is a beast unto its own. It’s like the IPL, but without the conflict of interests and corruption.
It is proper WWE cricket. Days of our Lives for men.
It can market how it likes. It can be a little naughty. It can be sexy. It knows that T20 needs to be different from First Class cricket.
The ECB haven’t worked that out yet.
Let’s start with the names.
KFC Big Bash is a much more appealing one than the Natwest T20 Blast.
By partnering with KFC, the sponsor by nature of its product can have a much more interesting interaction with the crowd. This only adds to the spectacle.
It is just so English for the ECB to choose a bank as a sponsor. Very proper and all that.
How does a bank get sexy? Putting a KFC bucket on your head is one thing, but a large money box or fake novelty withdraw slip is another.
Where’s the fun?
Now, let’s take a look at the websites. Remember how I said the Big Bash was decoupled and the T20 Blast wasn’t?
Well, the websites prove it.
One is colourful and engaging. One looks like, well, a bank site.
There is a picture of Joe Root in his whites on the T20 Blast one. They can’t even get the game right. Seriously?
Finally, look at how the Big Bash copies the successful AFL model and markets itself into schools and to kids.
Plenty of free clinics, teams visiting the kids, giveaways, etc. My 6 year old son came home with some Renegades stuff from a clinic and now is hooked.
The Big Bash is creating heroes for the youngsters.
Let’s look at the pricing to watch the Stars at the MCG (pricing as at 2014)
Children 5 – 15 Years $5.10
Family of 4 (2 Adults & 2 Children) $43.33
Family of 3 (2 Adults & 1 Child) $43.33
Where else in the world can you take a family to a world class sporting event for the equivalent of 23 pounds?
It is a no brainer. You just go. You can even afford to buy an icecream at the ground.
Ground breaking stuff.
Players who are T20 Drawcards
People go to the Big Bash to watch real stars.
Maxwell, Pietersen, Lee, Pollard, Bailey, Finch, White, Lynn, Cutting, Flintoff, Hales, Sammy, Tait, Hogg, Faulkner, Bird, Wright, Wade, Cooper, Carberry (only joking), Bravo, Pattinson, Kallis, Morgan, Nannes, Hussey, etc
Every match has 3 or 4 genuine world class T20 champions. The free to air TV has helped promotion of the names. Sir Viv on the sidelines is simply brilliant.
Having less teams than the Natwest T20 Blast is also a godsend. It ensures a better standard due to scarcity of places. For example, the Hurricanes dropped Ben Hilfenhaus this season due to poor form. That would never occur in an 18 team tournament.
The commentary box is also full of stars who are not the establishment.
Fleming, Ponting, Gilchrist, Flintoff, Pietersen.
Not Nick Knight and Andrew Strauss.
The whole thing is over quickly.
Almost nightly, there is a match.
It runs full pelt from the first match. It attracts people flicking through the crappy summer TV and sucks them in.
But before we know it, it is over. However, the energy created and culture embraced by players, administrators and fans is not an accident.
This is what Cricket Australia have aimed for, planned for and delivered.
So what is the ECB’s plan?
They’ll probably just blame the weather or KP rather than work on solutions.
That’s how they roll.
If you want to ask me a question about cricket, please don’t be shy in recording your question.