Geelong will roll out the red carpet tonight as more than 50 players, coaches and team officials from South Korea arrive back in town ahead of Geelong-Korea’s second season playing in the Australian Baseball League (ABL).
The team will play its first home series of the new season against Sydney from 21-24 November at the Geelong Baseball Centre, Pioneer Park.
The Geelong-Korea team roster will include up-and-coming stars from five of the 10 teams in the elite Korean Baseball League, the influx of talent expected to be a major drawcard for baseball fans from across the state.
All 40 of the team’s ABL games, including 20 in Geelong, will be broadcast live into South Korea and elsewhere in Asia, promoting Geelong and the Surf Coast to millions of people.
Baseball is South Korea’s national sport and the Korean Baseball League the third biggest professional league in the world, behind the US and Japan. More than eight million people attended pro baseball games in the country last year.
South Korea is an important trading partner with Victoria, with two-way trade worth more than $3.2 billion and major Korean business operating in Victoria, including dietary supplement manufacturer Nutribiotech, Kumho Tyres and major conglomerate Hanwha.
South Korean airline Asiana is set to launch direct flights between Melbourne and Seoul from late December in a move that will attract more tourists and investment to Victoria.
The Andrews Labor Government supports Baseball Australia in bringing the Korean players to Geelong through the $17.7 million Significant Sporting Events Program and the $20 million Regional Events Fund.
The Regional Events Fund has supported more than 200 events and the Significant Sporting Events Program has supported over 650 events, helping attract more visitors to Victoria’s regions and providing local communities with a boost to their economies.
As stated by Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula
“Geelong-Korea adds a new dimension to our major-league sports offering in Geelong with a star-studded line-up that is coached by a two-time World Series champion in Graeme Lloyd.”
As stated by Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman
“Having the Korean players based in Geelong provides a unique opportunity for Victoria to promote itself as a destination of choice to Korean baseball fans and for Victorian businesses to seek exposure in the Korean market.”
As stated by Member for Geelong Christine Couzens
“This is great for tourism, jobs and the economy in Geelong which is a major sporting hub for Victoria – the region is set to host A-League, AFL and ICC T20 World Cup matches, as well as the Victorian Open golf and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, over the next 12 months.”