An Australian sports presenter says a New Zealand franchise could join the Big Bash League within the next two to three years but the idea would need buy-in from Cricket Australia.
Interest in the Big Bash League has reached an all-time high this season with big numbers attending venues all over Australia. Nearly 81,000 turned up to an all-Melbourne clash between the Stars and Renegades at the MCG over the weekend while the Waca ground in Perth has sold out the final three home games for the Perth Scorchers.
Andy Maher, from Network Ten and Melbourne sport radio station 1116 SEN, told Radio Sport's Kent Johns that it would make sense to have a team in New Zealand if expansion occurs in the eight-team competition.
"I think it will come down to the willingness of Cricket Australia and the broadcasters," Maher said.
"It's a business. Things have got to rate and people have got to turn up. If New Zealanders turn up and games from New Zealand rate then there's no reason why not. It's as simple as that.
"If they're going to expand I think it makes sense to have a team in New Zealand in the competition. I wouldn't be surprised equally if he never happened."
Maher said expansion to a minimum of 10 teams could happen in two to three years but warned that organisers will be wary of diluting the talent pool, especially when players head on international duty while the tournament is still running.
Radio Sport's Summer Breakfast: Listen to the full interview with Andy Maher
Retired Black Caps all-rounder Daniel Vettori, currently coaching the Brisbane Heat in the BBL, believes a New Zealand side would be a welcome addition to the Twenty20 competition.
"From a New Zealand perspective, we'd love to (have a team)," Vettori told Crocmedia in Australia last month. "It's just I suppose working through the logistics of it."
Vettori thought the BBL could easily co-exist alongside the Georgie Pie Super Smash in New Zealand, which runs from November to mid-December, especially with matches in Australia airing at attractive times for Kiwi viewers.
"I know it'd be popular," Vettori said. "I know people sit down at 8.30pm, 9.30pm at night and watch the Big Bash and watch it all the way through. Certainly the numbers of people that know about the Big Bash and have a real affinity with it in New Zealand are huge."