The 2018/19 cricket season was officially launched on Tuesday night in Sydney.
The NSW Blues will commence their campaign for a third JLT One-Day Cup title in four years against Western Australia at the WACA Ground on Tuesday 18 September.
The NSW Breakers begin their pursuit of a remarkable 20th WNCL success in 23 years against Queensland on the Gold Coast, Friday 21 September.
Then on 29 September, leading Breakers players, including captain Alyssa Healy and ICC World Player of the Year Ellyse Perry, will play for Australia against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval. The Seven Network will cut live to this game after the AFL Grand Final.
Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones predicted that the 2018-19 season will be the most watched and attended ever.
“Cricket is already the highest-rating sport in Australia, and this season there will be more televised cricket than ever," Jones said.
“The record new broadcast deal with the Seven Network and Fox Sports will mean every international match, every BBL match, 23 WBBL matches and every Blues JLT Cup match will be broadcast on one or both channels.
“There will be twice as many women’s matches broadcast, cementing the Australian Women's cricket team as the most watched female national team and the WBBL as the most-watched women’s league in Australia.
“Meanwhile BBL will expand from 10 matches per team to 14 and Fox will launch a dedicated cricket channel.
“In addition, all Blues Sheffield Shield and Breakers WNCL matches will be live streamed by Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia.
“We are also expecting record attendances across the international and W/BBL summer, after last year’s record 2.3 million attendees nationally.”
The Blues begin their search for a 47th Sheffield Shield title on 16 October against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
The 46 Shield titles won by NSW, since the competition started in 1892/93, is 5 more than Mumbai, the next most successful state, county or province in world cricket.
The Sydney Sixers are aiming for a third successive WBBL title in the fourth edition of that competition.
Sydney Thunder finished in second place on the ladder at the end of the regular season in WBBL|03 and will be looking to improve on that result this campaign.
“For the first time the WBBL will have a stand-alone final, during the Australia Day long weekend,” Jones said.
“This will be a precursor to the WBBL being a stand-alone competition next season, allowing fans to enjoy Big Bash cricket from October through to February with the women then the men.”
The BBL will feature a complete home-and-away fixture for the first time this season. Both the Sixers and Thunder men’s teams will be seeking their second Big Bash titles in BBL|08 after both teams missed the finals last season.
Jones said the popularity of the BBL and WBBL will continue to be a driving factor in record participation across NSW this season.
“Well over 400,000 men and women, girls and boys played the game throughout NSW last season, with national participation now topping 1.5 million,” he said.
“With the number of girls-only teams doubling for the 4th year in a row and women’s social cricket rising rapidly, cricket offers something for every player, umpire, volunteer or spectator.”
NSW Pathway male and female teams will also defend nine of 11 national titles won across all age groups last season. The first major carnival for 2018/19 will be the Under 17 National Championships in Mackay and Brisbane during October.