IN A FIRST for Australian sport, an international team will base itself in Geelong while taking part in an Australian sporting competition.
Last week, Victorian Sports John Eren announced a baseball team from Korea will establish its home base at the Geelong Baseball Centre in Waurn Ponds.
The team, known as “Geelong-Korea” will play in the Southwest Division of the Australian Baseball League, which will run for 12 weeks from November to February.
All 40 of the team’s games, including 20 at the Geelong Baseball Centre, will be broadcast live into Korea and across Asia promoting the region to millions of people.
About 45 people from South Korea will stay in Geelong during the season, including the baseball team, coaching staff, executives and Korean media.
The state government secured the deal through its Regional Events Fund and Significant Sporting Events Fund.
Mr Eren thanked the City of Greater Geelong for its commitment to hosting the team, and Baseball Australia for negotiating the ground-breaking deal.
“We’re delivering for Geelong – we’ve already acquired World T20 cricket matches, the Australian Open of table tennis and we’re growing the Cadel Evans road race and the Vic Open golf tournament into international events,” Mr Eren said.
“This deal will showcase the Geelong region to an entirely new market boosting tourism and the local economy and creating jobs for regional Victorians.” Geelong previously hosted Japanese team the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2006 and 2007.
“This is a huge coup for the Geelong region and a testament to our fantastic facilities and the liveability of our region,” City of Greater Geelong acting mayor Peter Murrihy said.
“We’re very excited to welcome the Korean team to Geelong in November and look forward to showing them around. I’m sure this will be quite a buzz for baseball and sports fans in our community, and we know we’ll see some new converts to the sport.”