THE Australian Baseball League has confirmed an All-Korean team will join the league from 2018/19.
The team will be made up of South Korean players and play all of their home games at an Australian venue to be confirmed at a later date.
ABL boss Cam Vale said the plan had been a long time in the making.
“A Korean team entering the ABL was the vision before a pitch was thrown in 2010,” he said.
“High-level negotiations have been underway for some time now, so to have finally secured this partnership is exciting for all parties.”
All of the team’s regular season games will be televised live in Korea – the first time the league has had television coverage since the 2015-16 season.
Vale said the broadcast, which was expected to reel in up to one million viewers per game, would significantly boost the league’s exposure.
“We expect the international exposure for our partners and our teams’ partners to increase exponentially,” Vale said.
The move comes off the back of the league’s success in the Asian market last year, notably due to the presence of Taiwanese stars Chang Tai-Shan (Adelaide Bite), Chih-Hsien Chiang (Sydney Blue Sox) and Lin Chih-Sheng (Brisbane Bandits).
“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,” Vale said.
He said the expansion into Asia will increase playing opportunities for Australian talent.
“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.
The 2018-19 ABL season is scheduled to start in November, with the location of the Korean team and identity of a second expansion team to be named in the coming weeks.