These talks were, in part, intended to mend some deep and lingering wounds from the 2018 Newlands scandal. They were also intended to give Warner and other senior players the feeling that they would now be listened to more often.
But in addition to trying to rebuild some trust between Warner and the administration, there was also the critical issue of getting senior players to a point where they could consider returning to the BBL.
CA and the ACA have been in discussions this year to agree a mechanism in the next memorandum of understanding whereby all centrally contracted male players are also assigned to a BBL club, meaning Warner, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc are said to be related. to participate in the event when available.
LOSS OF INTEREST: average national BBL audiences
- On Channel Ten:
- 2015-16: 1.1 million
- 2016-17: 1.03 million
- 2017-18: 944,000
- On Fox, Seven:
- 2018-19: 838,000
- 2019-20: 780,000
- 2020-21: 735,000
- 2021-22: 630,000
The earliest such an arrangement could be formalized is for the 2023-24 season, by which time broadcast talks between CA and potential buyers will be well advanced.
As of this week, Warner’s reluctance to play a role in the BBL remains little altered from the views he laid out late last year ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
“That’s obviously a discussion I’ll have to have with a few teams on the track, but obviously there will be a few leagues that pop up around the same time of year,” Warner said at the time. “In its current state, I think the BBL is going on a bit too long.
“There is some catch-up time that I need to spend with my family and the BBL is obviously during this Christmas period. They’re talking about a game on Christmas Day. It scares me when I want to spend time with my family. It’s paramount when I’m done.“
Hockley and his sales team are under no illusions that if BBL crowds and broadcast ratings don’t improve this summer, it will be too late to effectively sell the tournament as anything other than a live event. decline.
As an example, the current BBL slide had already begun when Foxtel and Seven parted ways with a large percentage of their $1.2 billion contract in 2018, convinced by CA that almost doubling the number of games would still be able to garner a growing audience.