A new primetime free-to-air slot on Thursday evenings and avoiding clashes with Australia’s fixtures in the men’s T20 World Cup are two of the main features in the WBBL08 schedule, while the final is set to be played the same weekend that the AFLW comes to a conclusion.
The tournament, which begins on October 13, will return to all states for the first time in three years following the Covid-disruption that forced the entire competition to be staged in a Sydney bubble in 2020-21 and then navigate border closures last season.
It means that Brisbane Heat, Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades will get to play at home for the first time since WBBL05. Perth Scorchers will begin their title defence against Sydney Thunder in Blacktown on October 16.
The shift of the AFLW season to an August-November window means that the two competitions will now go head-to-head. While the overlap has not had a direct impact on the WBBL schedule, the fact both competitions are broadcast by Seven, avoiding Australia’s World Cup matches, and the desire to get more games at peak hours has led to the Thursday slot with overall 17 matches now in primetime.
“Our first priority is to get more WBBL matches into primetime…which is where the WBBL belongs as the best cricket league in the world for women,” Alistair Dobson, the general manager of Big Bash leagues, told ESPNcricinfo.
“Factoring in the men’s T20 World Cup has been one of the considerations, albeit we’ve managed to work pretty well around it and it hasn’t compromised the WBBL schedule much at all given the venues are generally different.”
The finals of both the WBBL and AFLW are set to be played on the weekend of November 26-27 with the date for the WBBL decider yet to be locked in. The WBBL finals week will follow the same structure as last season with the team who finishes first in the table getting a direct route to the decider with the Eliminator and Challenger to confirm the other team.
“Our starting point is whatever is right for the WBBL is the schedule we’ll put out, but equally there is a pretty interesting opportunity there about a great festival of sport that weekend,” Dobson said. “So if there are opportunities for each competition to leverage each other that’s something we would explore, but our starting point is that the WBBL, as the biggest sporting league for women in Australia, we’ll schedule what is right for the competition.”
The festival concept, where a number of teams are based at one venue, has been retained but these are now more concentrated on weekends. There are also matches spread more throughout the week than has previously been the case.
“I think that’s the balance that we are looking for, which is big weekends of action in one spot interspersed with primetime games through the week,” Dobson said.
Regional venues will also be used; the tournament will begin in Mackay, Moe and Ballarat in Victoria will stage matches as will Nuriootpa in South Australia.
Free-to-air broadcaster Seven, which has recently escalated its legal dispute with Cricket Australia largely centered on the BBL, will again show 24 matches live while all 59 games will be available on Foxtel and its streaming platform Kayo.
October 13: Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Sixers, Great Barrier Reef Arena
October 14: Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes, Blacktown
October 15: Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Sixers, Great Barrier Reef Arena
October 15: Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Stars, Great Barrier Reef Arena
October 16: Melbourne Renegades vs Adelaide Strikers, Great Barrier Reef Arena
October 16: Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Stars, Great Barrier Reef Arena
October 16: Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers, Blacktown
October 17: Hobart Hurricanes vs Perth Scorchers, Blacktown
October 18: Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Renegades, Great Barrier Reef Arena
October 18: Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Thunder, Blacktown
October 20: Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Stars, WACA Ground
October 21: Melbourne Renegades vs Brisbane Heat, Karen Rolton Oval
October 21: Sydney Sixers vs Adelaide Strikers, Karen Rolton Oval
October 22: Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Thunder, WACA Ground
October 23: Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars, WACA Ground
October 23: Perth Scorchers vs Hobart Hurricanes, WACA Ground
October 24: Adelaide Strikers vs Melbourne Renegades, Karen Rolton Oval
October 25: Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Thunder, Allan Border Field
October 27: Brisbane Heat vs Adelaide Strikers, Allan Border Field
October 28: Adelaide Strikers vs Perth Scorchers, Allan Border Field
October 29: Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers, Eastern Oval
October 29: Melbourne Renegades vs Melbourne Stars, Eastern Oval
October 29: Brisbane Heat vs Perth Scorchers, Allan Border Field
October 30: Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney Sixers, Eastern Oval
October 31: Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder, Eastern Oval
November 2: Adelaide Strikers vs Melbourne Stars, Blacktown
November 2: Sydney Thunder vs Sydney Sixers, Blacktown
November 3: Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Renegades, Blundstone Arena
November 4: Sydney Thunder vs Brisbane Heat, Blundstone Arena
November 5: Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers, Lilac Hill
November 5: Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Sixers, Lilac Hill
November 6: Hobart Hurricanes vs Brisbane Heat, Blundstone Arena
November 6: Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney Thunder, Blundstone Arena
November 6: Perth Scorchers vs Adelaide Strikers, Lilac Hill
November 7: Melbourne Renegades vs Hobart Hurricanes, Blundstone Arena
November 9: Perth Scorchers vs Brisbane Heat, Lilac Hill
November 10: Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Renegades, CitiPower Centre
November 11: Adelaide Strikers vs Hobart Hurricanes, Karen Rolton Oval
November 12: Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorchers, CitiPower Centre
November 12: Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers, CitiPower Centre
November 12: Brisbane Heat vs Hobart Hurricanes, Karen Rolton Oval
November 13: Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers, CitiPower Centre
November 13: Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades, CitiPower Centre
November 13: Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Thunder, Centennial Park Oval
November 14: Adelaide Strikers vs Brisbane Heat, Karen Rolton Oval
November 15: Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Stars, Latrobe Recreation Ground
November 15: Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Renegades, Manuka Oval
November 16: Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes, Latrobe Recreation Ground
November 16: Sydney Sixers vs Brisbane Heat, North Sydney Oval
November 18: Adelaide Strikers vs Hobart Hurricanes, North Sydney Oval
November 18: Sydney Sixers vs Sydney Thunder, North Sydney Oval
November 19: Melbourne Stars vs Perth Scorchers, Ted Summerton Reserve
November 20: Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Renegades, Ted Summerton Reserve
November 20: Sydney Sixers vs Hobart Hurricanes, North Sydney Oval
November 20: Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat, Ted Summerton Reserve
November 20: Sydney Thunder vs Adelaide Strikers, North Sydney Oval