Cricket Australia (CA) has announced that its Big Bash League (BBL) is set to return to a full home and away schedule this season, with a new venue added and a return to other stadia planned.
The 2021-22 edition of the Twenty20 competition is due to commence on December 5 with reigning champions Sydney Sixers taking on the Melbourne Stars at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The final has been scheduled for January 28, concluding before February for the first time since 2017 and ensuring the BBL will take place within Australia’s summer school holidays.
This will hopefully help boost attendances after a 2020-21 BBL that was played out at selected venues, with restricted capacities, due to COVID-19. CA said that while it will continue to monitor the public health situation, a total of 14 venues are planned to be visited across seven states and territories, including a return to GMHBA Stadium in Geelong and C.ex Coffs International Stadium in Coffs Harbour.
For the first time, the BBL will also play one match at the historic CitiPower Centre (pictured) in Melbourne. Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s general manager of Big Bash Leagues, said: “The KFC BBL is ready to launch into our second decade with a schedule that takes the full allocation of home matches back to fans across the country.
“This season’s schedule features all the key components that makes the League Australia’s most exciting sports entertainment product, with blockbuster matches, big rivalries and passionate fans nationwide.
“We’re also delighted that this season will be completed within the school holidays, with the final set down for January 28.
“Like all leagues globally, we remain conscious of the need to be agile in response to the challenges of the pandemic. We are confident that the experience obtained through our successful completion of the KFC BBL|10 campaign will hold us in good stead as we deliver the best possible competition for our players and fans.”
CA last month announced that stadia will be sold to full capacity for the 2021-22 Ashes series, with the exception of Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which will have an initial capacity of 85%.
CA released ticketing plans for the Australian cricket summer after earlier confirming the schedule for the Ashes series against England, with Perth’s Optus Stadium replacing the SCG as the venue for the final Test.