Australia's Big Bash League (BBL, is in a spot of bother for the upcoming season.
The 12th season of BBL is set to begin on December 17 in Canberra and conclude on February 4, with the first match between the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars.
However, the biggest concern is the clash of the schedule, with the two new upcoming T20 leagues of the SA20, hosted by Cricket South Africa, and the ILT20, which will be conducted by the Emirates Cricket Board.
Both leagues are beginning in the same period of January and February, falling right in the BBL's window.
The Big Bash League introduced an overseas draft similar to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) this season with Cricket Australia using the draft to add more international players and attention to the league, following in the path of the IPL.
The overseas draft could also be a strategy to pull back players to remain in the league beyond he season ahead.
Industry professor and chief economist the at University of Technology Sydney, Tim Harcourt, said Cricket Australia are looking to protect their turf by locking in big talents.
"The BBL introduced the draft and brought it forward to lock in their global talent early," he told Zero Wicket.
Many players have signed up for all three leagues, making it difficult for the BBL to attract players for the entirety of their competition. Big-name players in Rashid Khan, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone and Alex Hales are set to feature in both the SA20 and ILT20, simultaneously with their BBL commitments.
Australian batsman David Warner was also in contention to play the new South African league instead of Big Bash League. However, an offered $340,000 to play the BBL after his availability from international matches was enough to persuade the international star, having since signed a two-year deal with the Sydney Thunder.
BIG BASH LEAGUE LOW POINT
The attendance and viewership of Big Bash League has been severly hit in recent years as it failed to fine a place in fans' interest.
According to Cricket Australia, last season saw the least participation by fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the lack of Australian superstars.
The league is trying to open a window for the national players to feature in last-leg games after their international commitments.
The division of renowned players into various leagues can lead the BBL to lose a lot of engagement, having seen a drastic fall in attendance numbers across the past several campaigns.
Total and average BBL attendance since 2015-16
BBL|05: 1,029,285 | Avg per game: 29,408 (35 games)
BBL|06: 1,053,997 | Avg: 30,114 (35)
BBL|07: 1,143,763 | Avg: 26,599 (43)
BBL|08: 1,214,965 | Avg: 20,592 (59)
BBL|09: 1,133,114 | Avg: 18,575 (61)
*BBL|10: 473,770 | Avg: 7,766 (61)
*BBL|11: 412,547 | Avg: 6,763 (61)
*Impacted by COVID pandemic