Is the BBL in trouble?


150 game legend.
Sep 1, 2014
Perth SOR
AFL Club
West Coast
In Sangakkara's second season he spent more than half the season on the bench. He misfired a few times and the Canes were done with him. The Canes weren't a top of the table side and they could have easily fit him in their side.

Shah played a few seasons and had a poor final season. I remember the commentators were savage on him and the Canes sent him packing before the end of the season.

Point being that particularly in Sanga's case, some players may feel aggrieved by the treatment of their franchise and this may filter across internationally.

Players may not see the BBL as a must play destination.
Im pretty sure Sangakkara dropped him self the first time around.

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Richard Pryor

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 6, 2013
AFL Club
The BBL seems to have shot themselves in the foot. After a fantastic run of popularity, they decided to expand the number of games, which hasn't worked. They've almost doubled the number of games which has resulted in a dip in the average attendance.

Average crowd: 29,443
Number of games: 32

Average crowd: 30,114
Number of games: 32

Average crowd: 26,531
Number of games: 40

Average crowd: 20,552
Number of games: 56

In the most recent season, the average crowd was down 32% from the 2016-17. This coincided with the Scorchers moving to Optus Stadium and increasing their average attendance by 9,000.

If this trend continues, it could spell the death of the BBL and with the league considering expansion, the problem could possibly get worse.
Yep, reportedly the TV executives went into crisis talks during the 18-19 season as well. Was a massive miscalculation expanding the competition length, as I think the carnival aspect of it being so short compared to other leagues seasons was part of the reason it had so much appeal. People enjoyed it as a novelty and spectacle, not so much as a league to get invested in and follow the ups and downs of the side over an extended period of time.


Brownlow Medallist
Nov 28, 2004
AFL Club
Is it going to be shorter next year?
in terms of games or tournament span? They're not reducing the number of games, and if they're determined to extend the tournament into February, they they're not really reducing the number of days. They might slot in a few more double/triple headers, but expand the finals series format.


Brownlow Medallist
Aug 11, 2006
heaven on earth! (Melbourne)
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
The problem with the BBL is that there's such a disconnect between what CA and the "franchises" want it to be vs what it can be.

We all get the reasons for the timing of the competition over the summer holidays. But with the competing interests of the national team, it can't be a world-leading competition that will pull over a million viewers every night and cause internationals to accept less money to be a part of it; with so many more games over such a long period of time, it's definitely not going to attract internationals just cos Australia is a pretty nice place to be over summer.

On top of that, extending the season was always cooking the goose that lays the golden egg. I remember writing here towards the end of January that, given how long the tournament had been going, it felt like it should be wrapping up... and we were only just past the half way point.

The BBL isn't in trouble - but fast forward 5 years to the next tv rights deal, I don't think it's going to be something that FTA broadcasters are going to be paying big money for to screen 6 nights a week in prime time, nor is it going to be something that's consistently getting greater broadcast rights fees to allow it to pay more to internationals. It'll be more than what the A-League or Super Rugby are, but it will be much less than what the AFL is.

The most disheartening thing for CA is that there's no real fix to make sure these things do happen - they can't move the BBL to a different time of the year, nor can they (or should they) devalue the national team by making it play around the BBL so the internationals are more readily available.

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