Under the bright city lights and pumping beats, eight new teams burst into life and new rivalries were born at the launch of the KFC T20 Big Bash League tonight.
At a gala launch at Sydney's Carriageworks, more than 200 guests were entertained by DJs as each of the team captains were unveiled as holograms, before appearing in real life on stage.
In 142 days, the KFC T20 Big Bash League will change the face of sports entertainment in Australia. T20 is the fastest growing sport in the world and the eight new city-based teams will provide a new entertainment option for Australian sports fans. It will attract new fans to the T20 game, offering more action and theatre than ever before and will be the can't-miss, blockbuster event of the summer.
Egos, honour and bragging rights will be on the line as teams fight for national supremacy and to book a place in the lucrative Champions League Twenty20.
As well as all the best local talent in the land, some of international T20's most iconic names in Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Shahid Afridi have committed to the league and fans have already had a small taste of the entertainment these powers players bring to the party.
T20 and the Big Bash in particular has been a launching pad for our next wave of stars. Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch are three of the most exciting prospects in Australian cricket - all identified through domestic T20 - and there's no reason to suggest the next Australian superstar won't emerge from the tournament.
The KFC T20 Big Bash League will get underway when the first ball is bowled on Friday 16 December as the Brad Haddin-led Sydney Sixers host James Hopes' Brisbane Heat under lights at the SCG.
It will be a mouth-watering start to the league with 10 days of nothing but KFC T20 Big Bash League in the lead-up to Christmas. International and interstate cricket will take a break as the league takes centre stage when kids finish school for the year and everyone gets into the festive spirit.
All matches will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS, with 31 matches over 43 days, including the finals week from 21-28 January.
After the opening night blockbuster, round one continues on Saturday 17 December with a classic Melbourne-Sydney battle. David Warner and Chris Gayle will roll into town for a meeting with Cameron White and his stellar cast of Melbourne Stars at the MCG.
The Warner-Gayle combination will be a focal point of the league but in Peter Siddle, John Hastings, James Pattinson, Clint McKay and James Faulkner, the Stars have an incredible number of fast bowling options to challenge the threat.
A Sunday double-header feast closes the opening round with Shaun Tait returning to his old stomping ground with the Melbourne Renegades for a match against the Strikers at Adelaide Oval - a match-up likely to feature Tait and Dirk Nannes cranking it up against Kieron Pollard, Callum Ferguson, Michael Klinger and the rest of the Strikers batting line-up.
Following straight after the match in Adelaide, the Perth Scorchers host the Hobart Hurricanes. Cult hero Rana Naveed and Tassie's favourite son Ricky Ponting are sure to be at their best for the Hurricanes against the Marsh brothers and the Scorchers' international imports Herschelle Gibbs and Paul Collingwood.
Over two consecutive nights in early January, bragging rights will be on the line in Melbourne and Sydney as the opposing cross-town rivals go toe-to-toe in two cracking derbies. The Stars and Renegades meet at the MCG under lights on Saturday night before the Thunder and Sixers fight for Sydney honours at ANZ Stadium.
As well as the team captains and match schedule, the other elements that bring of each of these teams to life were revealed at the launch tonight, including logos, uniforms and the team websites where fans will be able to keep right up to date with the latest news and reviews about their favourite team and players.
In addition, team memberships have gone on sale on team websites while individual match tickets go on sale on 21 November - see www.bigbash.com.au for more information.
Cricket Australia launched the upcoming KFC T20 Big Bash League in an event held at Carriageworks in Sydney last night.
All eight franchises unveiled their captains, logos and uniforms for the new competition.
The captains for each franchise are:
* Adelaide Strikers – Michael Klinger
* Brisbane Heat – James Hopes
* Hobart Hurricanes – Tim Paine
* Melbourne Renegades – Andrew McDonald
* Melbourne Stars - Cameron White
* Perth Scorchers – Marcus North
* Sydney Sixers – Brad Haddin
* Sydney Thunder – David Warner
The inaugural competition will begin on December 16 with a clash between the Sydney Sixers and the Brisbane Heat at the SCG.
This is the first of 28 matches until the regular games finish on January 19 as the Melbourne Stars play the Adelaide Strikers at the MCG.
Two games that will be highlights, however, will occur in early January as the competition lights up through two local derbies as the Stars and Renegades face off at the MCG on January 7 before the Sixers and Thunder play the following day at ANZ Stadium.
The semi finals will take place on January 21 (first v fourth) and January 22 (second v third) before the very first KFC T20 Big Bash League final will occur on January 28.
Please click on the teams below to visit their official team websites.