Sydney will host Australia’s first Major League Baseball game next March, under a $13 million deal announced by premier Barry O’Farrell today.
The LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will play first two games of the 2014 season at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22 and 23.
ESPN reports that it has become traditional for baseball to open its season overseas but until now, official games have only been held in Mexico and Japan.
The series is expected to attract a global TV audience of up to 175 million, including 75 million in the US.
Adrian Proszenko of the SMH reports that Major League Baseball, the Australian Baseball League and Destination NSW have been working on the deal for several years. Australian officials hope to stage games every four years.
Sports Minister Graham Annesley told the Daily Telegraph that said the event would “generate more than 10,000 international and interstate visitor nights to Sydney, which will help us reach our goal to double overnight tourism expenditure in NSW by 2020”.
“Sydney has a history of hosting significant baseball games at the SCG, with the Chicago White Sox playing against a combined NSW team in 1914,” he said.
“The SCG will be transformed into an MLB field, with the construction of an infield clay area, pitcher’s mound, dugouts and additional grandstand.”
The Dodgers has one Australian player: relief pitcher Peter Moylan, a former pharmaceutical salesman from Perth.
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