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The Summer's hottest entertainment is set to explode this year, with more matches, including an extra cross-town derby in both Sydney and Melbourne, the features of the KFC T20 Big Bash League fixture announced today.
After the runaway success of last season, the biggest change for BBL|02 is an increase in the total matches from 31 to 35 to give teams and their fans four home games each. The structure of the league remains the same however, with the top four teams at the end of the round matches not only qualifying for the BIG SEMI FINALS but also getting the chance to play for a place in the elite Champions League Twenty20 tournament.
Despite adding another round of matches, the duration of the season is the same as BBL|01. It applies last year's winning formula, which featured record-busting TV ratings and more than 550,000 fans packing stadiums, to guarantee live action almost nightly during the December-January holiday period.
The new fixture also gives fans in Sydney and Melbourne two Derby matches each after huge interest saw a combined 70,000 fans attend the first inter-city clashes last season.
he BIG DERBIES will start the season, with the cross-town grudge match between Melbourne's Renegades and Stars at Etihad Stadium on Friday 7 December. Sydney's rivalry will be reignited the following night with the BBL|01 Champions, Sixers, hosting the Thunder. The remainder of the opening weekend will feature Brisbane Heat against Hobart Hurricanes and last year's runner-up, Perth Scorchers, playing Adelaide Strikers.
After the opening round, the eight BBL teams will criss-cross the country before the KFC T20 BBL|02 BIG FINAL is played 41 days later on Saturday 19 January.
Also confirmed today were the contracting rules that have been issued to teams ahead of the opening of the official Player Signing Window next Monday (9 July) at 9am.
Â· 35 matches in 44 days, an increase of four from BBL|01
Â· Each team plays eight matches, four home and four away
Â· Additional BIG DERBY matches between Sydney and Melbourne teams
Â· Fri 7 Dec: Opening Match
o Melbourne's Renegades and Stars meet under the roof at Etihad Stadium in the 2nd BIG MELBOURNE DERBY
Â· Sat 8 Dec: Defending Champions Start Their Campaign
o Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder in the 2nd BIG SYDNEY DERBY at the SCG
Â· Sun 9 Dec: Double Header Sunday #1
o Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes followed by Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers to complete the Opening Weekend
Â· Sun 16 Dec: KFC T20 BBL|01 BIG FINAL Rematch
o Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers meet in a replay of the BBL|01 decider
Â· Sun 23 Dec: Double Header Sunday #2
o Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Thunder followed by Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Sixers
Â· Wed 26 Dec: Boxing Day at the SCG
o Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes
Â· From 1 Jan: 10 in 10
o Ten matches in 10 days to start 2013, starting with the New Year's Day clash between Hobart Hurricanes and Perth Scorchers
Â· Tue 15 Jan: BIG SEMI FINAL 1
Â· Wed 16 Jan: BIG SEMI FINAL 2
o Winners of BIG SEMI FINALS qualify for Champions League Twenty20
Â· Sat 19 Jan: KFC T20 BBL|02 BIG FINAL
Signing Window opens next Monday
The initial 12-day Player Signing Window starts next Monday 9 July and closes on Friday 20 July. Teams will have a salary cap of $1 million for BBL|02 and the minimum playing contract has been set at $20,000. During the initial window, teams can sign up to 18 players (minimum 14), including up to two from overseas.
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