Sydney Thunder boss Lee Germon says shifting a Big Bash League double-header to Canberra was “never in doubt” and he’s already eyeing more games at Manuka Oval.
Canberra cricket’s worst kept secret was finally revealed on Friday morning with the Sydney Thunder set to host a Big Bash League double-header at Manuka Oval on January 24.
The Thunder will host the Melbourne Renegades at Manuka Oval, with both men’s and women’s sides set to play in front of a packed house in Canberra.
Canberra’s response to the showdown will be used by the Thunder as a gauge to determine the capital’s chances of securing more BBL games at Manuka Oval.
“It’s a one-year deal at the moment but we’re very keen to keep coming to Canberra,” Germon said.
“It’s just one year because that was really what we were able to put in place to start with, but we’re certainly really keen to bring further matches to Canberra, and to bring all the best both men’s and women’s content.
“It’s a new venue for us, it’s a relatively new market. We know it will be well supported, it’s a great venue, we’ve got no doubts about that.
“It just enables us to get through the first year and see how it went, ways in which we can do it better moving forward.”
The Thunder, ACT government and Cricket have been working to finalise a deal for months and Canberra cricket fans finally have their wish.
The BBL fixture was revealed in July but there had been little movement on nailing a deal to play in Canberra after n cricket’s pay war had all parties locked in a holding pattern.
The complex discussions dragged on with the government seeking replacement content after Canberra missed out on a men’s international for the upcoming season.
Canberra forms part of the Thunder’s territory, which is split across New South Wales with cross-town rivals the Sydney Sixers.
Germon says “it makes a lot of sense” to reach into their region and it was “always made pretty clear” that Canberra was the preferred venue for the Thunder’s fifth game.
The Thunder could have opted to play their fifth game at their regular venue in Sydney, where a bigger crowd is almost guaranteed, but Germon was keen to stoke the fire in Canberra.
Thunder director of cricket Michael Hussey has already thrown his weight behind playing a game in Canberra.
The fixture is a massive boost for cricket in Canberra and it will be the first BBL clash played at Manuka Oval since 11,387 streamed through the gates to see the BBL|04 final.
The ACT government was desperate to secure elite men’s content to partner the women’s Ashes fixtures in Canberra after the capital was left off the men’s international schedule.
Limited content in an Ashes summer meant Canberra won’t see the n men’s side play at Manuka Oval despite being midway through a four-year deal to have international cricket played in the capital.
Canberra will host two women’s Ashes matches in November and Cricket ACT boss Cameron French has launched an ambitious plan to pack out Manuka Oval for the two Twenty20 fixtures.
Meanwhile, Canberra cricketer Tom Rogers has continued his impressive rise by signing with the Hobart Hurricanes for the upcoming season.
Tickets for the BBL|07 season going on sale on October 16.
BIG BASH LEAGUE
January 24: WBBL – Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Renegades at 2.50pm. BBL – Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Renegades at 7.40pm.