Big Bash manager against NZ team joining league

Sydney Thunder players celebrate winning the Big Bash League title. photo  / Getty
Sydney Thunder players celebrate winning the Big Bash League title. photo / Getty

Sydney Thunder general manager Nick Cummins believes expanding the Big Bash League into Asia is a better option than including a New Zealand team.

The 2015-16 edition of the domestic Twenty20 tournament has been hailed as a raging success after over a million people passed through the gates with crowds up by 22 per cent.

TV audiences also spiked for BBL05 with an average of 1.103 million tuning in to the Network Ten broadcasts, up 18 per cent on the previous year.

While Big Bash hierarchy have ruled out adding a new franchise to the eight-team tournament before the expiration of the current television deal - which finishes at the end of the 2017-18 season - the tournament is growing at at exponential rate.

Canberra, Geelong, Gold Coast and Cairns have all been touted as potential expansion areas however, Cummins said the inclusion of an international franchise warranted consideration.

While New Zealand has been put forward as a potential site for the ninth licence, Cummins believes Hong Kong and Singapore are better options.

"I think Hong Kong and Singapore are really good ideas because that's going to significantly grow the TV audience," Cummins told AAP.

"I'm not convinced on New Zealand. Having one team in New Zealand you're just going to end up playing the national team and it's not going to deliver a particularly big TV audience.

"Something like Hong Kong or Singapore would be a pretty bold move.

"But having said that, the Big Bash's primary objective remains to grow the game of cricket in Australia. The question that Cricket Australia would naturally ask would be: how does having a team in Hong Kong grow the game in Australia?"

While adding new teams appears to be off the table for the next two seasons, Cummins said that did not mean the competition could not grow before then.

He said he supported the addition of more fixtures, with each side's regular rounds to grow from eight to 10, as well as an expanded finals series.While Cummins said he expected that next season would be too soon to include more fixtures, he would like to see it happen for BBL07.

"Expansion of games rather than expansion of teams is the priority," Cummins said.

"Any talk of expansion needs to take the form of additional games rather than bringing in teams.

"The player depth is not the best and I'm not convinced that adding additional teams will increase the total broadcast reach."

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