Sporting organisations around Australia, and even around the world, would have been shaking their head in amazement last night when the Adelaide Strikers announced that 42,654 people were at the Adelaide Oval on a Tuesday night for a domestic T20 cricket match.
It was the Strikers’ second consecutive home crowd above 40,000 within a week, emphasising the overwhelming transformation of sporting crowds in Adelaide since renovations to the Adelaide Oval were completed in March 2014.
The numbers will help make Adelaide a case study for cities and sporting bodies around the world, and solidify Adelaide Oval as the place in Australia to experience live sport.
The Strikers’ average attendance at its home games this season is 37,872, with one game to come against the Sydney Thunder on Monday night. The next best in the Big Bash League is the Melbourne Renegades, currently averaging 27,724 from its two games that includes their home derby against the Melbourne Stars.
The Strikers hold the two biggest crowds of the season so far – 43,288 on New Year’s Eve tops the list, with last night’s effort in second. The Strikers other home game – against the Melbourne Stars in the opening match of the season – was 27,676, which was the biggest crowd the Big Bash has had for an opening fixture, eclipsing previous efforts in Sydney and Melbourne over the past three years.
The record crowds prompted Strikers fast bowler Kane Richardson to comment after last night’s game: “We've got the best fans in the land and I think everyone around Australia knows that now.”
Big Bash crowd averages are up overall to 23,692 so far this season. With the competition now into its fourth season, it is the highest that number has ever been. Last season’s average crowd for the regular season was 19,105.
Big Bash League - and particularly Strikers - crowds stack up against any sport in Australia.
A-League average crowds around Australia last season were 13,041, topped by the Melbourne Victory with 21,808. There was just one regular season A-League match last season that had a bigger crowd than the Strikers last two matches.
The NRL had an average crowd of 15,905 last year, with just four crowds above 40,000 out of 192 home-and-away games.
The AFL average crowd in the home-and-away season last year was 32,333, which is less than the Strikers’ current average.
The Strikers’ average crowd is just marginally below the average daily attendance of the country’s most popular Test match – the Boxing Day test at the MCG two weeks ago. It is a long way in front of the rest of the Australia v India test series, as well as the International T20 series between Australia and South Africa that kicked off the summer of cricket.
But while the crowd numbers can be considered Australian sport’s latest phenomenon, it is the experience at the games that will solidify the Strikers and T20 cricket in the hearts and minds of those who attend.
The Strikers’ emphatic victories in the opening two home games meant fans were treated to a whirlwind of fours, sixes, dancing, fireworks and celebrations. Each game fans have been able to collect freebies on their way into the ground like Strikers Santa hats, flashing glasses and inflatable Strikers guitars. Colourful sunsets, a rock show with the lights out, and selfies on the big screens and have all added to the experience.
However, last night just one six was hit for the match as the bowlers dominated the contest and the Strikers were left 18 runs short in a surprise loss. If the ‘Strikeforce’ are back in strong numbers for the next game (the last BBL match scheduled at Adelaide Oval) perhaps that will be the strongest endorsement so far of the Adelaide Strikers.
Big Bash League 2014/2015 crowd numbers every game so far (**updated 10 Jan)…
- Adelaide Strikers v Hobart Hurricanes (Adelaide Oval) - 43,288
- Adelaide Strikers v Perth Scorchers (Adelaide Oval) - 42,654
- Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades (MCG) - 37,323
- Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars (Etihad Stadium) - 33,430
- Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers (Stadium Australia) - 32,823
- Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Stars (Adelaide Oval) - 27,676
- Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers (Gabba) - 26,975
- Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars (Gabba) - 26,788
- Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers (SCG) - 24,477
- Melbourne Stars v Sydney Sixers (MCG) - 22,098
- Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder (Etihad Stadium) - 22,018
- Perth Scorchers v Brisbane Heat (WACA) - 19,591
- Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder (WACA) - 18,809
- Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers (WACA) - 18,724
- Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades (WACA) - 18,203
- Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes (MCG) - 17,665
- Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes (Spotless Stadium) - 15,880
- Hobart Hurricanes v Brisbane Heat (Blundstone Arena) - 14,744
- Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Renegades (Blundstone Arena) - 13,918
- Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers (Blundstone Arena) - 13,140
- Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Renegades (SCG) - 12,789
- Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat (Stadium Australia) - 10,152
Big Bash League 2014/2015 average crowd numbers (for home games) so far (**updated 10 Jan)…
- Adelaide Strikers - 37,872
- Melbourne Renegades - 27,724
- Brisbane Heat - 26,882
- Melbourne Stars - 25,695
- Sydney Thunder - 19,618
- Perth Scorchers - 18,831
- Sydney Sixers - 18,633
- Hobart Hurricanes - 13,934
Average crowds between different Australian sports…
- Adelaide Strikers average home crowd current season so far – 37,872
- AFL average crowd regular season 2014 – 32,233
- Big Bash League average crowd current season so far – 23,692
- Big Bash League average crowd regular season 2013/2014 – 19,105
- NRL average crowd regular season 2014 – 15,905
- A-League average crowd regular season 2013/2014 – 13,041