MLB Officials Indicate Next Year's Australian Opening Series Won't Be A One-Off Event
Major League Baseball officials "have indicated their Australian experiment won't be a one-off if Sydney embraces next year's opening series," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The L.A. Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks "will play a two-game series" at the Sydney Cricket Ground in March. The Dodgers' clash with Diamondbacks "has the potential to be one of the biggest sporting events in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics." MLB VP of Int'l Events Jim Pearce "is hopeful of a return trip if Sydney gets behind the fixtures on March 22 and 23." Pearce said, "The potential of what these games could mean to the future … it could go in a lot of positive directions for baseball in Australia. Coming back is our long-term strategy. We want to keep building on our successes. There's every opportunity that this could lead to more games here" (SMH, 6/14).
IN THE WORKS: In Sydney, Proszenko reported the MLB, the Australian Baseball League and Destination New South Wales have "been working on the project for several years." 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 U.S., with three previously played in Japan" (SMH, 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).