Forget crowds, look at the TV figures, says Big Bash League boss

Big Bash League project manager Mike McKenna has conceded that the crowds for the first two games fell well short of expectations, but pointed to strong television numbers as evidence that Cricket Australia has not misread the public mood.

"What's really important for us is the total engagement, the combination of the number of people at the game and watching on TV indicates to us how strongly people are connecting with it," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted McKenna, as saying.

A disappointing crowd of 23,496 turned up for Shane Warne's comeback game at the MCG. The opening match in Sydney drew just 12,000 the previous night.

McKenna pointed to the total TV audience of 858,000 for Friday night's opening game at the SCG, and predicted interest from free-to-air networks would boost the value of media rights when the current deal expires in 2013.

"We are hearing they are interested already and this will only enhance their interest," he said.

The Melbourne Stars said it was always going to be "tough" to market a Saturday-night opening and will again lobby for a Friday-night start next season.

As part of last week's marketing hype, officials had hoped 50,000 would head to the MCG.

Stars chief executive Clint Cooper said it was important to remember "Rome wasn't built in a day".

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