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Australia bids for Major League Baseball


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Australia bids for Major League Baseball

foxsports.com.au

April 25, 2007

SOME of the United States' most famous baseball clubs could be headed to Australia under a proposal now before Major League Baseball.

The league is looking to open either its 2008 or 2009 season outside the United States and Australia is one of five countries bidding to host games.

Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan are also in the mix.

Australian Baseball Federation special projects manager Alan Weir said the ABF was in discussions with the Victorian Government about Melbourne hosting the games.

"To host a high-profile game like an opening series of any Major League team would be outstanding for Australian baseball," Weir said.

"It's a great opportunity to highlight Australia to the world, particularly Americans, as well as for Australians to get to see high-class baseball.

"We and Major League Baseball have been working on this for a while and we'll see what happens."

MLB has opened its season outside the United States or Canada four times – once in Mexico (1999) and Puerto Rico (2001) and twice in Japan (2000 and 2004).

The director of Major League Baseball for Australia and New Zealand, Tom Nicholson, said the league may award games to several countries this time.

"To create that emphasis of a single series opening it has usually been just two teams opening and it's one event, but there's certainly possibilities of entertaining the concept of maybe series in a couple of countries," Nicholson said.

"That's one item that's being looked by our international office."

MLB's senior vice-president of international business operations, Paul Archey, told the league's official website last month: "We're definitely planning on having a season opener (outside the US), but right now I can't tell you where it's going to be."

"We're considering a couple of options for 2008."

Archey described Australia an outside possibility for an opening day site.

Nicholson said Australia has been "on the radar screen" at league headquarters.

"It would sure be nice but certainly a long way off. We'll see," Nicholson said.

"The emphasis for Major League Baseball (is) the global growth of the game it's important that this is showcased around the world."

Weir said the bidding process would be very competitive, given the popularity of the sport in Asia and Australia's distance from the United States.

"Without a doubt it's not something that's going to be easy to get and it will be a coup for Australia if we do get it," Weir said.

"Baseball is a very major sport in Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

"China is embryonic but if they get one per cent of the Chinese population turned on to baseball then they've got an instant audience straight away of millions of people."

Nicholson said about 40 per cent of players at Major League teams are from outside North America.

Australia has about 100 professional players in the United States and two on Major League rosters – left fielder Chris Snelling at the Washington Nationals and relief pitcher Peter Moylan at the Atlanta Braves.

The national team won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

AAP

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Would love to see it at the MCG or Telstra Dome. I don't see them using Melbourne Ballpark in Altona, too small. Afterall, the MCG does have the WR for biggest baseball crowd.

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That could be interesting I suggest it be West Coast teams though

Perhaps the Dodgers and Padres

The teams won't matter since the flight time is not really an issue, only three more hours. If it occurs, it will be a major market (NY/LA/CHI/BOS) against a smaller market, divisional opponent who does not draw well, even with opening day. CWS/KC comes to mind immediately. If issues with snow in the northern cities is a greater trens, then I can see onf of those teams being chosen if MLB decides to do it.

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I am as big a baseball fan as the next guy, but seriously, MLB here in Melbourne ... I don't think so. The entire population of Australia is 20 million, compared to 1 billion in China ... so even if every single Australian (including infants, the aged, the blind) tuned into the game, we would still have a TV audience less than 2% of China's population. Granted, fans in China (and Taiwan, Korea and Japan) would still be able to tune into the game, especially considering the miminal time difference within the region, but if you're seriously going to try and plug the game to a new audience the way the NBA has, you're going to China.

All that said, if it's here in Melbourne, I'll be there with bells on.

Greg

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I am as big a baseball fan as the next guy, but seriously, MLB here in Melbourne ... I don't think so. The entire population of Australia is 20 million, compared to 1 billion in China ... so even if every single Australian (including infants, the aged, the blind) tuned into the game, we would still have a TV audience less than 2% of China's population. Granted, fans in China (and Taiwan, Korea and Japan) would still be able to tune into the game, especially considering the miminal time difference within the region, but if you're seriously going to try and plug the game to a new audience the way the NBA has, you're going to China.

All that said, if it's here in Melbourne, I'll be there with bells on.

Greg

Heres the thing though, baseball is already well established in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. China and Australia would make very interesting choices, but id personally rather see it in Australia. China has a lot, including basketball, already under its belt and id be very suprised if China didnt already have a fairly decent baseball following (With that many people It has to. Unless the people of China are under full restriction, which could be possible. I dunno), especially with outside leagues being somewhat close. Australia is for the most part a brand new market. Why not take a stab at it?

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An MLB fixture at the MCG would draw 90-100K.

Baseball already has a strong following, Geelong is an area which is rich of baseball-presence.

That and Melburnians love sport.

It will defiantely get the crowd.

Just the TV audience.

Maybe they can use it as part of a promotion for the MLB's planned Australian League (That keeps getting delayed).

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I have to wonder when and where it would take place. The AFL season starts the last week of March right? that's right around the time when baseball season starts. Would the MCG or Telstra Dome be able to dig up a dirt surface, then convert it back to adequate play standards for football. I know there was a baseball exhibition many years ago, I wonder what the setup for that was.

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I have to wonder when and where it would take place. The AFL season starts the last week of March right? that's right around the time when baseball season starts. Would the MCG or Telstra Dome be able to dig up a dirt surface, then convert it back to adequate play standards for football. I know there was a baseball exhibition many years ago, I wonder what the setup for that was.

Well, you also have to think that it would probably start around the same climate time that baseball does in America. Only that would be around October or November considering their seasons are reversed. That would be my guess.

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Eric, you converted me to the D-Backs!

Well, they have played football a day after a cricket match (drop in pitches, 2000) and the have played football the day after soccer.

I would say they'd either use drop-in dirt mounds, or apart from the pitchers mound, they just paint on the diamond. It's aint really a problem I wouldn't have thought.

ICS, we call it an Oval! Ovehere mate, those terms (apart from kit and uniform) are used interchangeably.

Bucfan, the best time of year in Melbourne is in March, that being said, we are in the middle of a drought, we don't get much rain, just a bit cold on good days.

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