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Changes to WBBL and new T20 competition headline plan to grow women’s cricket
Cricket Sport

Changes to WBBL and new T20 competition headline plan to grow women’s cricket

A new domestic women’s T20 competition and a reconfigured Women’s Big Bash League headline Cricket Australia’s new Women and Girls Action Plan, which will increase the average salary of a state player to $163,000 a year.

The plan has been developed in consultation with women’s players and administrators and focuses on filling stadiums and growing viewing audiences for women’s internationals and the WBBL.

The transition from a 56-game WBBL regular season to a 40-match schedule is similar to the refinement undergone by the men’s BBL last year, and is designed to allow international players to play for a larger share of matches.

The tighter window of WBBL will be augmented by a new state-level domestic T20 competition which will provide more pathways for elite talent.

The changes mean Cricket Australia will increase expenditure on these state players, driving the average wage for athletes across WBBL, state contracts and domestic match payments to $163,000. Last season, the average was $151,000.

Players who play for the national team are excluded from these calculations, and top Australian players are estimated to earn up to $800,000 a year, with personal endorsements and other work separate.

The plan also includes 10-year targets, including an average annual attendance for all women’s cricket in Australia of 600,000 and growing revenue from women’s cricket to $121m, an increase of $100m.

Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry helped draft the plan, and said the public appetite for women’s sport is now “indisputable”.

“We would love to see major stadiums filled with fans for our international and WBBL games and more girls inspired to play cricket,” she said.

“It is also extremely important that the increased interest in women’s sport is reflected in sponsorship and broadcast deals, and I hope this plan will continue to drive this growth so that women’s cricket continues to thrive.”

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The plan seeks to grow children’s participation for five- to 12-year-old girls from 25,000 to 100,000 by 2034, and achieve at least 40% female representation in key off-field positions across Australian cricket.

Cricket Australia’s chief executive, Nick Hockley, said growth of the women’s game has been a success, but “there is so much more opportunity and work to be done.”

Hockley said he wanted to see more big crowds in big stadiums, gender balance in all facets of the game, sustainable investment and “ultimately that more women and girl are inspired to love and play cricket”.

The Australian Cricketers Association chief executive, Todd Greenberg, said the plan is “a further step in the right direction – but if we are to continue the progress we’ve made, we can’t miss a step in better commercialising what is a premium sporting product that has a passionate and dedicated audience”.

Source: theguardian.com