Must we have a team?


by Chris Riordan

I haven’t minded the BBL. Certainly no TV boycott in our house, though
no plans have been built around it. I’ll take it as a regular TV
presence rather than the old summer staple of Gary Wilkinson and Allan
Stone butchering the tennis every afternoon!
Contrary to the marketers’ hype, part of my enjoyment has been a lack
of barracking – little emotional and no financial investment from me.
As the season has meandered some sides and players are winning and
losing favours, though I struggle to remember which side is which even
when it is on.
“Gayle batting”. I’ll watch.
“MacGill bowling”. Good.
“Could be a tight finish!”. Might stay up.

This is not really in line with the promotion, but it makes for good,
casual viewing. Funnily enough, there are signs that the best
identification with franchises is happening in the “one team towns” –
good crowds at Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Brissie fly in the face of
the need for “Derby” games such as those dumped on Melbourne and
I don’t care if the Melbourne sides win or lose. I don’t even know the
ladder – are draft picks up for grabs? I don’t like Tait regardless of
who he is playing for. I’ll be pleased for Bailey and Hogg to succeed.
And I’ll watch Fox’s excellent coverage when it suits me.
Is having a team to support imperative to enjoying the BBL – or,
indeed, sports watching in general?


  1. John Butler says

    Crio, that is a good question that Cricket Australia don’t appear to have fully considered the implications of.

    How many theatregoers are needed to compensate for hardcore fans?

    BBL (and T20 generally) seems designed as theatregoer central.

  2. CA missed the boat (again) when they chose two Melbourne teams instead of a Melbourne team and a Geelong team. A country team would have won fans across Australia – a country team against Melbourne would have created interest too.

  3. for example, I switched on a moment ago.
    Saw Dan Vettori who I’d watch any time. Dan Smith, however, I’d not barrack for (but I don’t know what team he’s in!). Finally, Matthew Hayden convinced me to switch off.

  4. Cookie…

    Geelong put a heap of money and resources into their bid, and it was
    anchored by Bob Parrish. So it was surprising that they did not get
    over the line. I am sure that the crowds at Kardinia Park would have
    more than bettered the crowds of 13,265 and 18731 which have
    attended the Docklands.

  5. Dave Nadel says

    I said this months ago. The only thing that distinguishes the two Melboune teams are their homegrounds. How can you get excited about Docklands vs the MCG? Of course the second Victorian team should have been in Geelong and the second Sydney team in Newcastle. Good thing its only T20.

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    So with crowds of 13,000 and 18,000, the Renegades owe the Docklands money I take it? Or is it only the AFL clubs like North and the Dogs that get screwed?

  7. John Butler says

    Skip, that’s an excellent point you raise. There’s been no discussion of the ground deals, like many other aspects.

    Dave, you forget, one of them wears green, the other red (or is it more pink?).

  8. John Butler says

    Off topic slightly, but I think we reached a new highpoint in newspaper journalism this morning.

    Warnie has a blue with a cyclist, tweets about it, and it ends up featured on the Age website.

    Obviously someone is paid full time to Warnie watch.

    And papers wonder why they’re struggling.

  9. Peter Baulderstone says

    There is no way Geelong could have a T20 franchise. Blue and white hoops would look ridiculous on a cricketer. Judging LBW’s with the white ball would be impossible.

  10. Peter Flynn says


    No lights.

  11. Skip of Skipton says

    Isn’t Kardinia Park getting lights when the renovations are complete? Very short square boundaries there too. I was told Richard Hadlee put a few onto Moorabool St in a tour match there once.

  12. Peter Flynn says

    No lights when the go button was pressed.

    I was there.

    This old man he told me Richard Hadlee’s got …

    Hadlee cut up rough.

  13. Flynny,
    A mate of mine once approached a certain NZ knight for
    an autograph when he spotted him in the Melbourne CBD.
    The reply he received is not fit for this publication!

  14. Pete B,
    Maybe they could wear the navy clash jersey
    with the cat on the front?

  15. You colour blind Peter?

  16. Steve Fahey says

    Excellent point Crio.

    I have been to two of the Stars games, pretty much to watch Warne. In the first I found myself hoping Warner would stay in, which he did, as he provided excellent entertainment (and batting). The second was the so-called derby – it had a big crowd but one of the weirdest atmospheres I’ve encountered at a sporting event, as no-one seemed to care too much who won, and there was certainly no animosity towards the opposition from those few that did care, because most of them were “us” as well, that is, Victorians, and we are used to state-based cricket, which means something.

    It’s a bit of fun to go to, perfect for the holiday season, but this is a major problem with the competition. The other is that it is one of the few sporting events that is better on the TV than in the flesh, especially when they have Warney (or anyone else interesting) miked up – truly fascinating telly when he is bowling. If I was 35 years younger I’d take notes when Warney is bowling, because it is a tactical master class.

  17. I like watching BBL for the personalities: Warne, McGill, Afridi, Gayle, Vettori, etc. (Also because watching live sport at 3 am when I get home from work is wonderful.) Teams don’t matter at all. T20’s just Home Run Derby on a cricket pitch anyway. But it looks like a fun way to spend a summer night.

  18. Yeah. I certainly was not saying that barracking mattered…only that the spruikers seemed to think it a linchpin for success. I like the detachment. Even watched until the end last night. Roy’s commentary was top notch, Haddin’s tribulations bare on the screen and a meaningless ending was great theatre. Brett Lee sure still gives his all.

  19. Steve

    Very much agree. I went to the Stars and Sydney game and having been pleasantly surprised last year with a Vic and NSWgame and the international match vs the Poms, I thought it would be great.

    I was really disappointed. The game almost seems secondary to the crowd and the between overs activity, which is strange for a game manufactured the way it is. Apart from heh Warne factor then Warner’s batting, the game was strangely sterile and there was little excitement even as the end approached. The crowd didn’t seem emotionally invested in the outcome, more wanting to see the ball hit for 6, regardless of which side hit it.

    The lack of player affiliation to the ‘franchise’ is a problem, as you can’t really get into the barracking as you mentioned. You need a footy record to figure out who is batting next and think, ‘where’s he from?”

    Imagine the AFL pre season NAB cup games with players allowed to swap from their usual side for a few games. How could you get excited about players from a different side temporarily playing for you but swapping back for the H&A.

    It seemed a manufactured atmosphere that was highlighted when all the kids around me made a beeline for Andy Lee from the radio for anautograph as he was in a Stars uniform.

    The only positive for me has ben the clever use of slow bowlers and spinners, but the Melbourne intrastate rivarly hasn’t worked and Cam White’s career as an international cricketere seems to have gone for good through the tournament.


Leave a Comment