The burgeoning popularity of women’s sport in Australia has drawn impressive crowds to some of the globe’s premier events, an uplift Cricket Australia anticipates maintaining once the WBBL shifts to large stadiums this forthcoming November.
The current WBBL season made a robust beginning, attracting solid crowds at smaller arenas throughout the nation. However, excitement is set to escalate when the Stadium Series commences in a few weeks, featuring games at renowned locales like the Adelaide Oval, the SCG, and the MCG just before the onset of the finals.
Remarkably, it has been nearly half a decade since domestic T20 matches featuring the nation’s women teams graced the country’s top-tier stadiums. Yet, November 24 is set to herald a break from tradition with a double-header in Adelaide, followed by the Melbourne derby the next day, with another double-header, including the Sydney Smash, expected to conclude the regular season.
Alistair Dobson, general manager of the Big Bash Leagues, shared his enthusiasm, stating, “These are the world’s best cricketers and we believe they deserve to compete in the world’s best cricket stadiums.” He expresses confidence in holding games at premier venues like the Adelaide Oval, the MCG, and the SCG, viewing it as consistent progression for their competition, touted to be the world’s superior cricket league.
While Dobson refrained from speculating on the likely spectators’ turnout for the matches, he expressed confidence that fans wouldn’t feel let down. This confidence, no doubt, was bolstered by the overwhelming turnout of 86,000 spectators to witness Australia triumph over India in the 2020 women’s T20 World Cup final at the MCG and the record crowds at the recent FIFA World Cup to cheer on the Matildas during their impressive run to the semi-finals.
He was positive that vast crowds are a likely outcome, which may result in more games being played at elite venues next year. He emphasized, “Our main priority is ushering the games into these top-notch stadiums and ensuring that fans enjoy their best experience while witnessing these amazing athletes, who lead their sport worldwide.”
Dobson is hopeful that the crowds will be substantial and shared that the strong turnout for WBBL matches this year substantiates this optimism. He concluded, “People are inevitably drawn to see the best of the best, and that’s precisely what the WBBL represents.”
Equally enthusiastic about the upcoming series, Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath is keen to lead her team to victory at North Sydney Oval. Having showcased a phenomenal performance last year, taking three wickets and 91 not-out to lead Australia to a definitive win over England, she confesses, “You grow up dreaming of playing on stadiums like the Adelaide Oval or the SCG.” There is a palpable anticipation among her team for the upcoming games at Adelaide Oval, with McGrath optimistically hoping for an amplified atmosphere with their ardent supporters.