NEW DAY: Could Christmas Day fixtures work in Australian sport?
NEW DAY: Could Christmas Day fixtures work in Australian sport? DAVID MARIUZ

We debate Christmas Day sport as Big Bash considers games

CRICKET: Christmas Day remains the target for Big Bash League bosses but player feedback is yet to warm to the idea of playing on December 25.

A blockbuster double header for Christmas Eve was unveiled when BBL fixtures were released earlier this week.

Melbourne Stars will travel to Hobart to face the Hurricanes before the Sixers do battle with the Thunder in the Sydney derby that night.

The Sydney derby, to be held at Spotless Stadium, is tipped to break ratings record, and will almost certainly be a litmus test for future Christmas Day fixtures.

The Sixers-Thunder is a double header in its own right, as the teams' WBBL teams do battle beforehand.

Players have already voiced concerns about travelling on Christmas night for Boxing Day clashes interstate.

Stars chief executive Clint Cooper conceded cramming the expanded fixture in to a tight time frame had presented issues for Cricket Australia, with the first BBL-Test match clash to occur on January 27.

The Stars-Brisbane Heat game will clash with day four of the day-night test match between Australia and Sri Lanka.

It could force viewers to switch between two channels to watch both games, while Foxtel and new broadcaster Seven may each need to show the games on two channels.

The Chronicle's and News-Mail's sports editors have given their take below. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Sport is the perfect way to finish Christmas Day, by Fraser Coast Chronicle's Matthew McInerney

THERE is no better way to finish Christmas Day than a game of cricket.

Picture it.

The classic Aussie Christmas of spending a day with the family, kicking back with a barbecue, beats and a game of backyard cricket, then just when your young nephew starts to get cranky because he keeps throwing away his wicket you can crowd around the box to watch a game of the most exciting cricket competition in the world: the Big Bash League.

If the city you're in happens to host the massive fixture, you can leave backyard cricket behind before everyone starts arguing about whether or not little Johnny was out lbw (spoiler alert: he definitely was), navigate Santa's special public transport timetable and enjoy the atmosphere.

For this to work, it would have to be a pretty big game.

I'd look at the competition's two huge derbies so, sorry Brisbane, our friends in Sydney or Melbourne may be the lucky ones.

Whether or not Melbourne Cricket Ground's curators could make it work is another question.

A huge game of Twenty20 played between a city's two teams (and fierce rivals), their massive supporter bases, and just a few days before the Australian Test team hook into another traditional Boxing Day Test.

It's almost the perfect reason to spend Christmas in Melbourne.

Sydney wouldn't have such a problem, but would have to decide whether or not the Sixers could sell out the Sydney Cricket Ground or send it west to Thunder territory.

The defending champion Adelaide Strikers have turned the New Year's Eve game into a spectacle for which my esteemed colleague in the "no" crowd has travelled thousands of kilometres to see, and there's no reason this can't work on December 25.

The NBA already does it using rivalries or game between the previous championship rivals, let's see it happen in the Big Bash League.

Sport on Christmas Day? It's just not cricket, by Bundaberg News-Mail's Shane Jones

IN LIFE and in sport everyone needs a rest at the best of times.

Holidays, sometimes, provide the perfect get away from life's problem and work and off-season provides the perfect time for players and staff to relax after a long season of sport.

Christmas is one of those days on the sporting calendar.

In Australia, nothing is held professionally in sport, with the only howzat coming from the backyards of houses across the country.

Families get together to celebrate the year and look forward to what the new year could hold.

Others celebrate the religious component by going off to church.

Cricket players also get to rest and spend time with their family and loved ones.

It should stay that way, especially with the Big Bash.

One of the best moments for me in a sporting year is seeing the Australian cricket team with their families celebrating Christmas Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the team prepares to play the following day on Boxing Day.

Putting a Big Bash match on deprives up to 70 players, staff and club members from spending time with their loved ones at a special time of the year.

There is also no addition commercial benefits by holding games on Christmas.

Crowds, on average, were lower two or three days out from Christmas over the past three seasons before picking up and going above average once December 25 was over.

Fans voted with their feet to do other things.

The league is booming - as illustrated by the increase in matches, from 43 to 59 this season, and the increase in television revenue with the new deal with Channel Seven and Fox Sports.

It doesn't need Christmas to give it a further kick.

Give everyone else the day off. Leave the cricket in the backyard.



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