Canberra's step up in the cricket stratosphere has continued, with the city securing a ''massive coup'' in hosting the Big Bash League final on January 28.
Cricket ACT and the ACT government hopes having the decider in front of a packed house of 14,000 fans at Manuka Oval will help push Canberra's claims for a team in any extended BBL competition.
It will be the first time the final will be held at a neutral venue after Cricket Australia was forced to examine alternative solutions because of a heavy schedule of international fixtures and the World Cup in February and March.
The decision caused a huge reaction on social media. Several international players, including Kevin Pietersen, Ben Cutting and Daniel Christian, criticised taking home field advantage away.
Cricket Australia executive general manager of operations Mike McKenna said the teams were ''disappointed'' with the announcement, but that it would be a one-off.
"We were in a situation where the schedule was very tight and we were concerned we might not be able to promote the game to attract a sell-out crowd if we didn't move it,'' McKenna said.
"Canberra has shown recently with the improvements at the ground, but also the passionate fan base for cricket, that they will get behind it.
"Having the match locked in at a venue this early gives us a great opportunity to promote it and make it the spectacle that it deserves to be.''
ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr began talks with Cricket Australia with the expectation of trying to secure a regular-season game of the BBL.
"It turned out the best fit in the schedule and for the venues was to have the final,'' Barr said.
"It's a massive coup for the city and the region to have a match of this magnitude.
"We've seen how popular the Big Bash has become and very likely the match will be a sell-out.''
Barr admitted the prospect of Canberra hosting a Test match was ''not in the foreseeable future'' and only possible if it was on a rotation basis with Hobart.
The Big Bash League final adds to what already is a big summer of cricket in Canberra.
Australia will face South Africa in a one-day international on November 19, three matches of the cricket World Cup will be held at Manuka Oval in February and March and the PM's XI match against England will be on January 14.
Cricket ACT chief executive Mark Vergano said the Big Bash final would be a great chance for Canberra to continue to press its claims to feature in national competitions.
“Every opportunity we get to showcase our facilities, what we can do, along with performances in the female realm with the Meteors and the Comets and youth pathways in recent years, is another step forward,'' Vergano said.
''The Big Bash is a growing competition and one the Canberra public will be very supportive of.
"Anybody would love to host a Big Bash final, and we're very happy it's in Canberra.''
ACT Comets captain Jono Dean could be playing on home soil if his Adelaide Strikers make the final.
But he admitted to having mixed emotions because of missing out on playing at a packed Adelaide Oval.
''It excites me because I'd love to play a BBL game in front of my home crowd, but from a Strikers point of view it's disappointing for our fans,'' Dean said.
''Adelaide Oval is primed and ready to go for this year and the thought of a final there was really exciting.
''I understand the reasons behind the neutral ground.''
Manuka Oval has undergone significant work in recent years to bring it up to international standard, with the federal and ACT governments investing $5 million to install light towers and further funding to resurface the playing arena and add seating.
Tickets for the T20 Big Bash League, including the final, go on sale on October 28.