Late last year, Major League Baseball shot down a report that the Los Angeles Dodgers would play its 2014 opener at Australia's famous Sydney Cricket Ground.
The story is interesting for bringing to light that MLB 'bankrolls' a 2-year-old, 6-team competition in the Lucky Country. Previously, in 2001, the US organization set up the Major League Baseball Australian Academy Program, which has 'led to a 40-percent increase in the number of Australians playing professional and college baseball', according to the Australian Baseball League.
Attendance typically ranges from 1,000 to 2,000, more or less the size of rugby crowds at such elite colleges as BYU or Cal. ABL organizers hope to lift game attendance to 3,000-5,000, 'which along with increased corporate support, would help the ABL realise its goal of self-sustainability'.
In 2002, USARFU and Canada won England's backing for commercial competition in North America, but poor sales led the Rugby Football Union to abandon the Churchill Alliance after 2011. The highest-profile outcome of America's strategic relationship with New Zealand, signed in 2008, has been the same year's outbound, three-match Collegiate All-American tour as well as sundry player placements. Plans for hosting a Bledisloe Cup match in Denver were aborted; discussions of a North American Super Rugby franchise have never progressed much.
Aussie pro baseball features teams in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, an expanse almost exactly the size of America's 'lower 48' states. Further, as the ABL's season runs from November through February, it's the opposite of the US season and several players player 'winter ball' in the US minor leagues.
Talks of the Dodgers playing Sydney are ongoing, an MLB executive told Bloomberg, 'but we’re a long way from actually signing paperwork'.