Could Canberra have its own BBL team within five years?

Canberra's hopes of securing a Big Bash League team of its own have been revived with Cricket Australia planning to capitalise on the competition's "explosive growth".

Canberra fans have been crying out for BBL action in the capital and could have a team to call their own within five years.

CA boss James Sutherland says expanding the BBL is a matter of being able to "give fans what they want" after Australian cricket launched its new five-year strategy on Thursday.

The league has already expanded to include another eight games this summer with Manuka Oval all but locked in to host the Sydney Thunder's clash with the Melbourne Renegades on January 24.

Cricket ACT boss Cameron French would love to have a BBL franchise playing out of Canberra but for now is intent on locking down a deal with the Thunder.

"If there was ever expansion we'd certainly put our hands up," French said.

"Our focus at the moment is hopefully supporting the Thunder to get great crowds whilst they bring games here for the next couple of years."

Potential expansion bids have emerged in Geelong and the Gold Coast but Canberra already meets a host of operational considerations.

The commercial viability of a Canberra franchise could be the only stumbling block, with BBL officials determined to ensure Cricket ACT would not suffer financially.

While it varies from club to club, the Thunder have previously indicated to Fairfax Media the yearly costs of running a BBL club could total up to $6 million.

While formal criteria for expansion has not been issued,a venue that is satisfactory from a cricket operations, spectator, and broadcast perspective is a must.

Manuka Oval has already hosted a BBL final, while a new media centre is being built at the venue ahead of the region's first Test match in the 2018-19 summer.

BBL expansion is seen as a package deal which means any new franchise would need to sustain men's and women's teams.

The framework is already in place at Cricket ACT with staff accommodating the Comets and Meteors, who play in the Futures League and Women's National Cricket League respectively.

The $6.2 million high performance centre at Phillip Oval would also be a huge tick in Canberra's favour, with the venue seen as a potential training base for a BBL club in Canberra.

The venue will open later this year and it will double the number of turf practice wickets at Cricket ACT's disposal, including indoor nets.

Canberra's hopes of securing a BBL game might not remain in limbo for much longer with Thunder general manager Lee Germon keen to finalise a deal with the ACT government within a week.

There has been little movement since Australian cricket's new memorandum of understanding was struck.

But French reassured Canberra cricket fans a deal is nearing completion for the January 24 blockbuster.

"It looks really positive from everything we're hearing," French said.

"It's just a matter of the finer details and making sure everyone's comfortable with the final arrangement. Hopefully as Lee said, an announcement in the next week."

Canberra could host a double header this season with the Thunder still looking to confirm a venue for a home WBBL fixture on January 24.

The ACT government is desperate to secure elite men's cricket given Canberra won't host the men's Australian team this season despite being midway through a four-year deal to have international cricket played at Manuka Oval.

Meanwhile, Canberra will host the under 18 female national championships in Twenty20 and 50-over competitions from November 27 to December 7.

This story Could Canberra have its own BBL team within five years? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.