On the eve of the BBL Finals, Foxtel Group has confirmed the 2020/21 season has continued Australia’s summer obsession with cricket on Fox Sports with an average live audience for the 56-game regular BBL season of 256,000*.
The result was up 28% compared with the previous season.
All Foxtel Group platforms experienced growth with audiences watching via Foxtel’s traditional pay-tv business up 15% while streaming audiences on Foxtel Now, Foxtel GO and Kayo grew by 106% vs BBL|9.
For the 16 exclusive BBL games on Fox Cricket, the average audience was 274,000, up 41% on 2019/20 (Linear +26% , Streaming +112%) while the 39 simulcast games averaged 249,000, up 24% on BBL|9 (Linear +12%; Streaming +102%).
The strong result was boosted by the growth in the Kayo Sports platform which expanded its customer base considerably in 2020. The streaming platform reported having 644k paying subscribers in September, a significant increase on the figure of 370k it started the year with in January 2020.
Foxtel will be revealing updated subscriber data for its platforms next week.
Fox Cricket’s share in subscription television homes grew by six percentage points year on year to 59%.
The strong result for Fox Cricket comes at a time when free-to-air broadcaster Seven experienced an audience decline for its Big Bash coverage. Oztam data indicates the five-city metro audience for the BBL regular season averaged 364K in 2020/21. The result was down 9% compared with a 399k average in 2019/20.
Seven and Cricket Australia will face each other in Federal Court next month in a bid to settle a dispute regarding rights fees for the competition with Seven believing its annual payment of $70 million should be slashed due to scheduling issues and lack of international players in the BBL.
Steve Crawley, Executive Director Fox Sports, said:
“We have been blessed with an outstanding summer of cricket. The Australia-India rivalry captured the nation’s imagination while more and more fans have chosen to watch the Big Bash League on Fox Cricket.
It’s a great endorsement of investment we have made in cricket commentary and production that we have seen such outstanding audience growth in every form of the game and we are looking forward to the BBL finals series beginning tomorrow.”
Fox Cricket’s exclusive coverage of Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers (Game 12) was the highest rating game of the season on Fox Cricket with 376,000 viewers with one of the Thunder, Renegades or Sixers appearing each top-five rated Fox Cricket games.