The 2018/19 Big Bash League is in the books, and while many will turn to review performances of the teams, we’re going to give the spotlight to the best stadiums that created such great atmosphere during the Twenty20 tournament.
Over the 59 games played, some stadiums were able to stand out for their repeated use and importance in the overall story of the season, with four venues hosting seven total matches and another hosting six.
At these stadiums, the home teams went all-out to try and land a win in front of their home crowd while a couple earned extra honours by hosting matches in the semi-finals and the final itself, cementing them in the history books of the competition. So, let’s get stuck into the stadiums which had the biggest impact on BBL|08.
Doing it for the home crowd in Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth
Over the course of the season, three stadiums hosted more matches than any other, with the Adelaide Oval, Sydney Cricket Ground, and Optus Stadium all playing host to seven matches each.
Coming into the season, the Adelaide Oval was expected to be filled with excitement each match day, but the Adelaide Strikers failed to deliver more often than not. Going into the season as one the favourites, the Strikers were disappointing, finishing just two wins above the bottom spot. But at least the Strikers put on a show for the home crowd, with the 53,583 capacity ground witnessing three of their team’s total of six wins. Across the Strikers’ seven home games, they average attendances of 28,095.
The only thing more majestic than the pink strip of the Sydney Sixers is their home ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground. It’s always a pleasure to visit this magnificent cricket venue, with its 48,000 capacity never failing to deliver a tantalising atmosphere. The Sixers made it to the finals series but didn’t get to host and were knocked out in the semi-finals. During the season, however, they managed to celebrate five of their total of eight wins with their home fans at the SCG. The Sixers averaged 17,784 from their seven home games.
Defeated by the Adelaide Strikers at the back end of the season, the Perth Scorchers were beaten down to the wooden spoon position by the reigning champions to the tune of a five-wicket defeat. Playing at the brand new 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium can be a daunting task when form isn’t on your side, but the Scorchers managed to accrue three of their four total wins at their new home ground to give their fans something to cheer about. The Scorchers averaged 30,133 fans in their first season away from the WACA.
The ground which crowned the champions
As of October 2018, Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium became Marvel Stadium, which featured an extensive Marvel-themed makeover. Quite possibly the most memorable of the stadiums during the 2018/19 Big Bash League, it’s not just the Marvel character wall which will keep it etched in the memories of BBL fans.
Marvel Stadium finished the regular season having hosted five games, during which it saw its home team, the Melbourne Renegades clinch three of their total eight wins, and then played host to the semi-final. The Renegades beat the Sixers by three wickets in front of their adoring fans. They met the Melbourne Stars at their newly rebranded stadium in the BBL Final and produced an incredible fightback to collapse their cross-town rivals to the tune of seven wickets for 19 runs in 29 balls after the Stars started 93-0.
It was a hugely entertaining game, with the Docklands venue at the centrepiece of it all, played in front of a crowd of 40,816. Marvel Stadium is sure to be a big feature of the 2019/20 BBL too, with the Renegades among the favourites to win the tournament. As of 8 March, Betway has the Renegades at 11/2 to repeat as champions, while the Strikers and Stars also sit at 11/2 just behind the 9/2 Hobart Hurricanes.
An outstanding effort in Tasmania
Blundstone Arena, as it’s officially known, is the crown jewel of Tasmanian cricket, with its BBL team, the Hobart Hurricanes, taking the league by storm during the season. The venue, traditionally known as the Bellerive Oval which has a capacity of 20,000, hosted five regular season games, all of which the Hurricanes won to help them storm to a table-leading ten wins.
But in the semi-finals, it all fell apart at once for Hobart. The team was so dominant in the season that they were favourites to go all the way, but the Melbourne Stars showed up ready to battle to the death. It just wasn’t the Hurricanes’ night, as shown by The West Australian, losing by six wickets and seeing fan-favourite George Bailey go off with a nasty looking shoulder injury. The Hurricanes averaged 11,348 for their home games.
It was a superb season of the Big Bash League with a thrilling finish worthy of being held at such a great venue in Marvel Stadium. But, if the oddsmakers are correct, we’ll be seeing fireworks at Tasmania’s Blundstone Arena in 2020.