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Records fall as ABL continues growth
Broadcast numbers, ticket sales, web traffic all increase
03/05/2019 6:44 PM ET
(C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA
(C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA 

After successful expansion, various international broadcast deals and a new structure, the Brut Australian Baseball League set record highs in a number of areas in the 2018/19 season.

MBC Sports+ in South Korea broadcast 32 Geelong-Korea games live on television, with an additional 39 games broadcast live and free on abltv.com and various domestic and international broadcasters.

The added international exposure combined with a 74% increase in average viewing time within Australia has made the 2018/19 ABL season the most viewed of all-time, with more than 19 million total viewers across the season.

Baseball Australia chief executive officer Cam Vale said this was a testament to the league's international growth strategy, and the new private ownership model.

"These broadcast numbers are unprecedented for Australian baseball," Vale said. 

"We have made a concerted effort to prioritise international exposure, and these figures are the foundation for sustainable growth in Australia and overseas.

"Our new licensees have done a phenomenal job implementing new strategies in their respective markets, while working collaboratively to ensure long-term success."

ABL games were broadcast on more channels than ever before, with MBC Sports+ (South Korea), Eleven Sports (Taiwan), Naver (South Korea), Fox Sports (Australia) and Sky Sports (New Zealand) beaming live broadcasts worldwide.

The eight ABL teams have had the opportunity to produce their own live broadcasts, with Brisbane, Perth, Auckland, Canberra and Adelaide accounting for an additional 220,000 views across the season.

This increased interest has seen website numbers for theabl.com.au, with a record-high 484,015 sessions and 342,119 daily unique users in December 2018.

theabl.com.au has seen a 45% year-on-year increase in web traffic, setting a year-to-date (July 1-present) record of 1.6m sessions.

This increased exposure is not exclusive to broadcast rights, with the six foundation ABL teams combining for well over last season's gross ticket revenue.

On average, teams recorded a 51% year-on-year increase in gate takings, while $1.46m in collective gate receipts represents the second highest sales total in ABL history, exceeded only by the 2015/16 season (which had a 56-game schedule).

Leading men's toiletry brand Brut also became the historic first naming rights partner of the ABL in November.

"Brut's naming rights of this year's ABL was greatly appreciated," Vale said.

"Brut came on board thanks to a key baseball contact to support our first year of this new-look ABL.

"It has given us the launching pad to now seek a long-term naming rights sponsor to take us forward as we grow further into Asia and Australia."

Stay tuned for information regarding the 2019/20 season including league structure and schedule.

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