Today, the ABL sent a press release about the upcoming changes in the league. Not only is there new a new owner for two teams, there will be a Korean team participating in the 2018-2019 season.
The Canberra Cavalry and the Sydney BlueSox have new owners. Two executives of the Cavalry have formed an ownership group that consists of local community members investors. The Sydney BlueSox are now owned by longtime baseball fan and local businessman Adam Dobb. Dobb’s first goal is fan engagement. He wants to make the BlueSox everybody’s team.
As it was discussed in the previous years after MLB pulled out of the ABL, there will be a team from Asia participating in the coming season. It will be a team with solely Korean players but the team will have its home base in Australia. All forty regular season games will be televised in Korea.
Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale, speaking from Seoul, said the announcement marked a historic day not only for baseball but for Australian sport.
“A Korean team entering the ABL was the vision before a pitch was thrown in 2010.
High-level negotiations have been underway for some time now, so to have finally secured this partnership is exciting for all parties.
The partnership is as significant as it timely, coming on the back of last season that saw us garner millions of viewers and capture the attention of Asia for the first time.
Winterball Korea is an exciting and innovative opportunity we were presented with and reflects highly on all those involved in the license partnership.”
Vale stated further: “With an anticipated broadcast audience of up to 1 million viewers per game, we expect the international exposure for our partners and our teams’ partners to increase exponentially. The opportunity for Australian businesses to seek exposure into Korea is unrivaled to any other Australian domestic sporting team.
In a region where more people attended live baseball games last year than the entire population of Australia, the spotlight will be on us when traditional northern hemisphere powerhouses Korea, Japan and Taiwan are dormant in their winter months.”
The participation of one of the top three baseball countries in the world will also offer a good opportunity for Australian players to improve their game. It may even lead to opportunities for them in Asia.
The Korean ABL team will be operated by a newly formed company named Winterball Korea. The company will partner with Happy Rising, a Seoul based marketing agency that specializes in news, marketing, consulting and technology. Happy Rising is the managing company for MLB’s official Korean website and has secured partnerships with dozens of major broadcast media companies and leading Korean based corporations.