Major League Baseball (MLB) officials have recently announced their intention to work with Auckland officials and Baseball New Zealand to identify prospective facilities to meet the growth of the sport, including a possible future franchise of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) to be located in the city, according to Tom Nicholson, MLB International's director for the Oceania region.
Nicholson recently visited several facilities and parcels of land in Auckland along with Murray Cook, MLB's field and stadium expert. He stated in meetings with Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Regional Facilities and stadium officials that New York-based Major League Baseball is seriously considering bringing a professional franchise to the city, as well as its ground-breaking MLB Academy Program for top teenaged baseball prospects. There is even the potential of an MLB post-season All Star touring team coming to Auckland.
"We are impressed with and excited by the recent growth of baseball in New Zealand," said Nicholson. "The development of appropriate facilities will be crucial to maintaining the momentum and progressing to the next stage. A top-class baseball stadium in Auckland will give Team New Zealand a proper home; it will provide a venue for future ABL games and a facility for the MLB Academy program."
Australian Baseball League CEO, Peter Wermuth also supports the concept stating "A proper baseball facility suitable for professional baseball would be a great development for the sport in New Zealand, provide an opportunity to bring ABL games to New Zealand and would be a key step towards consideration for an ABL expansion franchise in the future. We strongly support the initiative."