Sources: MLB In Discussions To Start '14 Season With Games In Australia
MLB is “in discussions about the possibility of starting its 2014 season in Australia,” according to sources cited by Hernandez & Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. But it appears the negotiations “haven’t advanced to the point where specific teams are being included in the talks.” MLB Senior VP/PR Pat Courtney said, “We are not currently exploring the possibility with the Dodgers or any other team to play in Australia.” However, Hernandez & Shaikin write a report in the Sydney Morning Herald “made clear that the Dodgers are at the top of the wish list of the Australian parties involved.” The report stated that the D’Backs “would be the Dodgers’ ‘likely opponents’ in a three-game series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.” One potential obstacle is "because a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney is almost 14 hours, the players union might be reluctant to accept a proposal." Still, the “upside is that the teams involved could raise their international profiles.” The D’Backs have been “making an active push to enhance their global brand” (LATIMES.com, 10/24). In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko in the original report stated Destination New South Wales, MLB and Australian Baseball League officials have been “working on the project for several years, but the identity of teams has been a heavily guarded secret.” Sports event-marketing firm Moore Sports Dir Jason Moore has been “in negotiations to make the series happen for six years,” and he “hopes the deal will be signed by the end of the year.” The plan is for the series to be played in March and for the two teams to "stay in Sydney for six days” (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/25).