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When we'll know the BBL has made it

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January 2, 2016. It was the night the Big Bash League was supposed to have transformed from a glittery sideshow to a bona fide sports competition.

An astonishing attendance of 80,883 descended on the MCG for the local derby between the Stars and the Renegades. It was a record crowd for an Australian domestic cricket match and took authorities by surprise. Just like a Patrick Cummins short ball is prone to do, it “got big on them” very quickly.

David Hussey (Stars) and brother Michael (Thunder) prepare for the 2016 BBL grand final.Credit:Chris Hopkins

The Stars made it all the way to the final, hosting four more games at the 'G along the way. None drew fewer than 30,000. Viewers were hooked too. The thrilling decider between the Stars and Sydney Thunder drew a peak national television audience of more than two million.

The BBL was a big deal. Crowds increased marginally the following season, with the average attendance tipping past 30,000.

Inevitably the talk turned to what would come next, especially with a new television rights deal in the horizon. Prospective expansion sides put their hats in the ring, but it was ultimately decided that growth should come in the form of more games, not more teams. There was the rise from eight games to 10 per club last summer, then to a full home-and-away........

© Canberra Times