TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Reports from Australia suggest that Taiwan’s professional baseball league, the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) may be in talks with Baseball Australia to form a special joint team for an expansion of the Australian Baseball League (ABL).
An article in the Examiner on Sept. 15, speculates that the team may be established in the state of Tasmania, with the “Tassie Taiwan Tigers” (speculative name) possibly joining the league by the start of the 2019-2020 season.
Baseball Australia’s chief official Cam Vale and the CPBL’s commissioner John Wu met recently to discuss the proposal, which if approved would see Taiwan become a recruiting base for a new franchise based on Australia’s southwestern island territory.
Earlier this year in June, the ABL made a similar deal for an all Korean team, known as“Geelong-Korea,” to join the league and to be based out of Geelong in the ABL’s Southwest division.
The ABL is looking to expand the league with two new teams by the start of the 2019 season, with Wollongong heavily favored to host one of the teams, and the second likely to be either a team based in Gold Coast, North Queensland, or Tasmania. according to the report.
Taiwan’s CPBL has expressed interest in backing a new franchise, with the ABL chief Cam Vale recently returning from Taiwan and stating that:
“The purpose of the branding and strong link with one country like Taiwan does build the business model for Tasmania. What comes off the back of that is a broadcasting deal to ensure all those games are shown not only to Taiwan, but Asia, Australia and, also really, the rest of the world… No matter how we would get a team out of Tasmania, it’s going to need heavy international influence to do it.”
According to the Examiner report, the team is likely to field a majority of Taiwanese players but would also include several local athletes, and a few recruits from North American leagues affiliated with the MLB.