Big Bash League has managed to trump the Australian Open with an ace. The ratings of cricket matches were more than Australian Open, the first time it has happened.
According to the ratings, Big Bash League was ahead of Australian Open in Melbourne and Sydney.
Australian Open’s coverage on Seven’s primary channel witnessed a 12 per cent fall during the first seven nights. Wednesday night was the only day when the Australian Open’s ratings managed to beat that of Big Bash League.
It is the first time that cricket has managed to beat tennis in viewership during an Australian summer. According to the Herald Sun, it could be a ‘significant moment’ for sports rights business in Australia.
A bidding war cannot be ruled out for the rights for BBL, if the ratings can hold.
Channel Nine holds the domestic and international rights for Cricket Australia’s matches. But Network Ten holds the rights for broadcast of the Big Bash League, which expires after next summer, which produces 47 matches in 40 days, or nearly 170 hours of programming.
Channel Seven spent nearly US$30 million for Australian Open, double Network Ten paid for the six-week long BBL.
When the Big Bash League finals happen on Saturday, further upswing in ratings could result in big changes for sports television in Australia.
Big Bash League had begun with a thunderous start with its opening game last month. It saw the highest television ratings for a match that was not the finals in the tournament’s four earlier editions. 1.05 million people watched the run chase in the five capital cities of Australia.