South Australia will host a professional South Korean baseball team for a training camp early in the new year with a contingent of more than 80 people flying in to use the West Beach Parks, Diamond Sports headquarters.
The Lotte Giants, from the south eastern city of Busan in South Korea, will arrive at the end of January and train at the field for just over a month.
The visit, negotiated by the Adelaide Giants, and linked with a visit to South Korea by the Premier in October, will provide a significant boost to the South Australian economy with an expected direct injection of around $1 million.
The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing will contribute $50,000 for upgrades to the field, to match another $50,000 from other key stakeholders including Baseball SA, Softball SA, Diamond Sports SA and Adelaide Baseball.
The $100,000 in upgrades to the field at West Beach include larger bullpens, mound upgrades, installation of a Batter eye, purchase of new specialised equipment, path installation and re-turfing.
Minster for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Corey Wingard, said this is the start of South Australia bringing sporting business to the State.
“We’ll announce our State Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Plan next year which will detail required upgrades to our sporting facilities to attract world class events to SA,” the Minister said.
“We’re committed to investing in our sporting facilities so we can attract international teams, like the Lotte Giants, to come and train here.
“This has the potential to inject millions into our economy and give us unprecedented exposure in the South Korean market.”
General Manager of Baseball South Australia, Sarah Kelly, said the benefits of the upgrade will last long after the Lotte Giants have headed home.
“I’m so excited to welcome the Lotte Giants to Adelaide and to introduce them to our great sporting culture,” Ms Kelly said.
“This is also a great opportunity to enable South Australia to host national championships in the future.”
Adelaide Giants Executive General Manager, Shane Smallacombe, said the Lotte Giants have previously held training camps in other countries like Japan and the United States and this is their first time coming to Australia for pre-season.
“South Korea is a superpower of international baseball and we are looking forward to welcoming one of their top teams to Adelaide next year,” Mr Smallacombe said.
“It’s exciting that the Adelaide Giants and baseball can play a role in opening the door for South Australian business into the north Asian market through sports diplomacy.”