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Korean team confirmed for 18/19
All-Korean team to join ABL this season
05/20/2018 4:18 AM ET
 

The Australian Baseball League has created history, becoming the first Australian professional sporting league to include an international team from Asia that is based in Australia.

The new team will be made up solely of South Korean players; however, those players will be based and play all their home games in Australia.

All 40 of their regular season games will be televised live into Korea, with an expected audience of up to one million viewers per game.

This licence represents the third ABL team announcement following on from the previous announcements regarding the Sydney Blue Sox and Canberra Cavalry.

Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale, speaking from Seoul, said the announcement marked an 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," Vale said.

"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 licence partnership."

Vale said all 40 of the team's regular season games will be broadcast live on Korean television, providing resounding benefits for Australia and for every other team in the league.

"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," he said.

"The opportunity for Australian businesses to seek exposure into Korea is unrivalled 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.

Vale is confident increased exposure for Australian talent will also lead to more professional playing opportunities in Asia.

"The inclusion of a top-three ranked baseball nation in the ABL will give Australian players more opportunities to improve their game by competing against quality talent week in, week out," he said.

'Winterball Korea' is the newly formed company granted the Licence to operate the Korean team and will partner with Happy Rising, a Seoul based marketing agency that specializes in news, marketing, consulting and technology. Bringing a multitude of connections and experience to the ABL, Happy Rising is the managing company for MLB's official Korean website (www.mlbkor.com) and have secured partnerships with dozens of major broadcast media companies and leading Korean based corporations.

Today's announcement with Winterball Korea secures a minimum five-year commitment to have a Korean team in the ABL.

More than 8.4 million fans attended professional baseball games in Korea in 2017 and Australia has had a strong history with top level Korean baseball.

Team Australia held a pre-World Baseball Classic camp in Seoul in 2017, taking on the Korean national team in a hotly contested warmup game. Korean legend Koo Dae-sung became an adopted Aussie star, totally 35 saves in his storied ABL career for the Sydney Blue Sox and pitching for Australia against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Sydney in 2014.

More recently, the three-time KBO champion Doosan Bears returned to Blacktown for their annual spring training trip in February 2018.

The location of the team will be confirmed in the next fortnight, along with details regarding the second expansion team.

The status of the other four existing ABL teams and their licencing announcements will also be detailed.

Sydney Blue Sox licensing announcement

Canberra Cavalry licensing announcement

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.