Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) will have a shortened 44-game season, including 40 home and away matches and four finals, as part of the new TV rights deal with Foxtel Group and Seven West Media. The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) will remain unchanged with a 59-game season. The BBL will also introduce draft pick trading and a retention window for up to 12 men’s and 10 women’s players. CA’s general manager of Big Bash Leagues, Alistair Dobson, did not rule out future changes to the WBBL structure.
The restructuring of the BBL is aimed at providing greater flexibility for clubs and fans while ensuring that players continue to produce world-class cricket throughout the tournament. The shortened season will allow more room for schedule adjustments and innovations to the tournament’s structure.
Under the new TV rights deal, the BBL will introduce draft pick trading for the first time, giving teams the opportunity to trade their picks and improve their draft position. The order of the draft will be confirmed via a lottery before the season.
Both the BBL and WBBL will see a week-long retention window, starting on May 15, where clubs will have first rights to re-sign up to 12 men’s and 10 women’s players, respectively, including national players who have already signed multi-year deals. The retention window will end on May 22, when the trade period will begin.
Regarding the WBBL, Dobson stated that while no changes have been made to the schedule, Cricket Australia will continue to review and consider the structure of the WBBL season to ensure that it remains at the forefront of T20 leagues.
The BBL is one of the most popular T20 cricket leagues globally and attracts some of the world’s top players. The league has been running since 2011 and has grown in popularity over the years, with last year’s season attracting a record 1.15 million fans.