The 2018/19 Australian Baseball League season has become the most viewed of all time, thanks largely to various international broadcast deals, successful expansion and a new structure.
The inclusion of the MBC Sports+ broadcast deal wich televised 32 Geelong-Korea games live into South Korea, propelled the ABL to 667% growth in TV viewership.
With an additional 39 games broadcast live and free on abltv.com and various domestic and international broadcasters, Australians increased their average viewing time by 74%, combining for a total of 19 million viewers across the entire season.
The eight ABL teams have also contributed, by producing their own live broadcasts, with Brisbane, Perth, Auckland, Canberra and Adelaide accounting for an additional 220,000 views across the season.
Baseball Australia chief executive officer, Cam Vale, said this was a testament to the league’s international growth strategy, and the new private ownership model.
“These broadcast numbers are unprecedented for Australian baseball,” Vale said.
“We have made a concerted effort to prioritise international exposure, and these figures are the foundation for sustainable growth in Australia and overseas.
“Our new licensees have done a phenomenal job implementing new strategies in their respective markets while working collaboratively to ensure long-term success.”
On average, teams recorded a 51% year-on-year increase in gate takings, while $1.46m in collective gate receipts represents the second highest sales total in ABL history, exceeded only by the 2015/16 season (which had a 56-game schedule).
Leading men’s toiletry brand Brut also became the historic first naming rights partner of the ABL in November.
“Brut’s naming rights of this year’s ABL was greatly appreciated,” Vale said.
“Brut came on board thanks to a key baseball contact to support our first year of this new-look ABL.
“It has given us the launching pad to now seek a long-term naming rights sponsor to take us forward as we grow further into Asia and Australia.”