The '14 MLB season will "begin in Sydney," with the Dodgers and D'Backs set to "play two games at the Sydney Cricket Ground" on March 22 and 23, according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. MLB, the Australian Baseball League and Destination New South Wales have "been working on the project for several years." An official announcement is expected tomorrow. The teams are "expected to be in Sydney for six days," and it is "understood that a warm-up game -- potentially against an Australian all-star team or the Sydney Blue Sox -- could be considered." The negotiations have been "a highly guarded secret, with MLB officials threatening to scupper the deal if details were made public." Sydney-based sports event-marketing firm Moore Sports Dir Jason Moore said, "This will be the biggest sporting event in Sydney since the 2003 Rugby World Cup final." The move to Australia marks "just the sixth time that a series [has] been played outside the US, with three previously played in Japan." But rather than "just a one-off, Australian officials hope to stage games every four years" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/13). Australia Sport Minister Graham Annesley said, "The SCG will be transformed into an MLB field, with the construction of an infield clay area, pitcher's mound, dugouts and additional grandstand" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/13).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The NFL has “tasked three internal study groups to consider options that include holding the three-day draft in three different NFL cities in the same year, or moving it around to a different NFL city each year, in an attempt to make it an even more accessible and fan-friendly event than it has become at Radio City,” according to sources cited by Don Banks of SI.com. The third study group within the league “was formed to consider other sites in New York if the league opts to not move its draft out of the nation's largest market, but can't continue to schedule the event for late April at Radio City due to" scheduling conflicts. The league is "using the impetus provided by the Radio City scheduling issue to study making some major and innovative changes to where and how its draft unfolds.” While the consideration of all options “has only just begun, the league is clearly intrigued with the idea of taking the draft on the road, if feasible, and could make further changes to how it conducts its wildly popular player lottery in order to broaden its appeal to fans.” If the “three-day, three-different-cities format should be adopted, the league would in all likelihood stop the decades-long practice of having officials from each of the NFL's 32 teams on site at the draft, sitting at tables equipped with helmet phones to relay the club's pick from their war room to the commissioner's podium on stage.” Logistical and cost issues related to taking the draft on the road “will likely determine much of league's decision-making in terms of site or format changes.” The NFL also can “envision cities competing for the right to play host to the draft, almost as a small-scale Super Bowl-like event” (SI.com, 6/11).