There are two more summers before Cricket Australia goes into negotiations for another local broadcast deal but expect the suitors to be lining up for the Big Bash League then. And Channel 9, despite having plenty of programming on its plate with the Test and one-day international rights, may well be right in the thick of it. The last five-year BBL deal was worth $100 million, so given the tournament's success that figure is only going to rise for the 2018-2023 rights. Even if Nine were to mount a bid for the BBL, though, Network Ten would be hard to shift, particularly with Rupert Murdoch so involved. There is no doubt this has been the tournament's breakout year, but it's worth remembering that when it comes to television ratings the international game is still king. Nine is not able to use all the bells and whistles the BBL does, such as having players miked up and the stumps lit up, because their games are governed by the ICC and not CA. But the first ODI between Australia and India in Perth this week was still the 28th most-watched sports program in Australia in the past 12 months with a five-city metro average of 1.148 million viewers. Only the third afternoon of the third Test against New Zealand (17th, 1.614m) has beaten it in terms of cricket ratings this summer. Ten's BBL doesn't have an entry inside the top 30 or close to it. Its top-rating match of this season was between Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers, which drew a five-city metro average of 926,925.
Derby in demand
Adelaide win ensures home semi-final
Adelaide Strikers pull off a six-wicket win off the last ball, to end the Hobart Hurricanes' campaign.
Between them they have lost their last eight matches and only one of them, Sydney Thunder, have a realistic chance of reaching the semi-finals. However, that has not dimmed the demand for Saturday's Thunder-Sixers derby at the SCG. Short of buying a hospitality suite for the night you haven't been able to jag a ticket to the game this week, with a crowd of more than 40,000 forecast if enough members show up. There is still hope, though, to get a seat. On Friday from 9am, a final 2800 tickets will be made available on Ticketek. They're not expected to last long.
Powell fails to impress
Former West Indies opener and Major League Baseball aspirant Kieran Powell attracted plenty of attention in the US on Wednesday when he was put through a "workout" in front of scouts in Florida. Powell, 25, was the subject of plenty of media attention but according to Wallace Matthews, who reported on the workout for ESPN.com, a landmark switch from international cricket to the MLB is far from a formality. He reported that a scout from the New York Yankees came away unimpressed and said a rep from another team had told him of Powell: "He sucks. He's not worth any time."
Switch hit: Kieran Powell is trying his hand at baseball. Photo: Getty Images
All in a good cause
We told you during the Sydney Test about a function that's coming up at the SCG next month that's expected to feature Sachin Tendulkar as the star attraction. Well, it's a busy time of year in the social calendars of cricket types, with one of the highlights of the après-cricket circuit pencilled in for the weekend before, on January 30. The annual LBW Trust dinner, to be held in the SCG's Noble room, is such a hot ticket this summer that's there is a waiting list of more than 50 people. The main drawcard of the event is Dennis Lillee. Among the 600 guest list will be Harsha Bhogle, the Chappell brothers and Henry Olonga, Zimbabwe's first black international player who in retirement has had a crack at a singing career. One point of interest will be the auction, with Ian Chappell donating his entire cricket book and magazine collection. David Peever, the Cricket Australia chairman, is apparently one of the interested parties. Corporate tables went for $10,000 each but it's all for a very good cause – proceeds go towards the education of disadvantaged young people in developing parts of the cricket world.