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Australia's Big Bash smashes records

By AFP, Sydney
30th-Jan-2017       
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Records have tumbled for the Twenty20 Big Bash League, with Cricket Australia saying Sunday the enormous crowds and viewership for the fast-paced format this season has surpassed expectations.
The Big Bash is in its sixth season and has used a blend of sport and entertainment to draw families and younger spectators to games.
The high-octane format has proved popular, with more than one million people attending this season's games at an average of 30,114 per match, CA said.
"Once again, fans have well and truly spoken and we couldn't be happier with how this year's competition has progressed on all levels," Big Bash chief Anthony Everard said in a statement.
"The season has well and truly exceeded our expectations". The league concluded on Saturday, with a sold-out crowd at the WACA Ground in Perth watching as the Perth Scorchers thrashed the Sydney Sixers by nine wickets to win the final.
Twenty matches of the 35 BBL games this season sold out.
The highest turnout was the derby between Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades at the MCG on January 1, that attracted 71,162 spectators.
The host broadcaster, Network Ten, had an average viewership of 1,021,750 per match for the season.
The women's BBL, in its second season, also drew an "unprecedented level" of crowds and television viewers and encouraged more women and girls to play cricket, CA said.
More than 100,000 people watched the women's games this season, with the highest attendance of 24,000 recorded for the Melbourne derby on New Year's Day.
Cricket Australia has sought to capitalise on the league's popularity by adding eight matches to the men's competition next season.
The venues have yet to be announced, although Cricket NSW chief has said holding the opening round in Hong Kong could be one option.
There were no plans at this stage to increase the number of teams in the league, CA said on Friday.

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