In a first for Australian sport, an international team will base itself right here in Victoria while taking part in an Australian sporting competition.
Minister for Sport John Eren today announced a baseball team from Korea will establish its home base at the Geelong Baseball Centre in Waurn Ponds. The team will play in the revamped Australian Baseball League competition that runs for 12 weeks from November to February.
The coup has been made possible thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government’s Regional Events Fund and Significant Sporting Events Fund.
All 40 of the team’s games, including 20 at their Geelong home, will be broadcast live into Korea and across Asia promoting the region to millions of people.
Korea has the fourth largest economy in Asia and a population of more than 50 million people. Hosting the baseball team provides significant opportunities to develop and strengthen trade, sport and tourism connections.
There is a strong Korean population in Australia and baseball is the country’s number one sport, meaning Geelong is set to be inundated with passionate fans especially when the Korean team take on the local Melbourne Aces.
Korea is currently the third ranked baseball nation in the world, while Australia is ranked eighth. With baseball included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there is a great opportunity to build the sport in Australia. Details of the team’s name and uniform are still being finalised.
Minister Eren thanked the City of Greater Geelong for its commitment to hosting the team, and Baseball Australia for negotiating the ground-breaking deal.
The Labor Government’s $20 million Regional Events Fund has already delivered more than 160 local events across the state, bringing a steady stream of visitors, increased overnight stays and boosting regional economies. Our $17.7 million Significant Sporting Events Program will support 300 events over the next four years.
It’s part of our strong commitment to encouraging all Victorians to get out there and get active. The Victorian Budget 2018/19 invested almost half a billion dollars in ensuring sport and active recreation remain strong.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Sport John Eren
“We’re delivering for Geelong – we’ve already acquired World T20 cricket matches, the Australian Open of table tennis and we’re growing the Cadel Evans road race and the Vic Open golf tournament into international events.”
“This deal will showcase the Geelong region to an entirely new market boosting tourism and the local economy and creating jobs for regional Victorians.”
Quote attributable to Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale
“Not only does this agreement give Geelong another professional sporting team, it gives the city and region unparalleled exposure to the Asian market.”