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Sport Baseball Australia to launch world's second dedicated national women's league

13:25  24 october  2019
13:25  24 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was a professional women ' s baseball league founded by Philip K. Wrigley which existed from 1943 to 1954.

In Australia , baseball is a game that is played in all states and territories of the country. Baseball was believed to have been brought to Australia with Americans gold miners in the Victorian gold rush of

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Japan is the only other country with a dedicated national women's competition. (Supplied: Baseball Australia)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Japan is the only other country with a dedicated national women's competition. (Supplied: Baseball Australia)

Australia will become only the second country in the world to have a dedicated national women's baseball competition.

Four teams — from Victoria, the ACT, South Australia and Queensland — have signed up to the inaugural season in 2021.

Baseball Victoria, as well as current men's teams the Adelaide Giants, Brisbane Bandits and Canberra Cavalry, have been granted licences and will fund and run the teams.

They will participate in a number of exhibition games in 2020 before the league officially launches in the second half of the following year.

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The Australian women ' s national baseball team, nicknamed the Emeralds, represents Australia in international women ' s baseball tournaments and competitions.

5. 2 South Australia Women ' s Baseball League . International Baseball League of Australia . National junior competitions. Youth Championships. Little League World Series in Australia . Major League Baseball Australia Academy Program.

Opportunities for semi-professional and professional women's baseballers in Australia are currently slim.

There is a national tournament once a year and the women's World Cup every two years.

Shae Lillywhite has played baseball since she was a young girl.© ABC News Shae Lillywhite has played baseball since she was a young girl.

A dream come true

Australian Emeralds player Shae Lillywhite said playing in a dedicated league would be a dream come true.

"It's just a great chance to showcase the hard work that everyone puts in," she said.

"I think it'd be nice just for people to see the girls actually play, and great for us to get more high-level competition."

Baseball Australia chief executive Cam Vale said the women would be paid in the new league for the first time.

"I think it gives a great opportunity of respect to those athletes who dedicate as much time as the men but currently in a user-pays system" he said.

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The Women ' s National Basketball League (WNBL) is the pre-eminent professional women ' s basketball league in Australia . It is currently composed of eight teams.

Australia ’ s — and the world ’ s — newest “all-female” baseball league will provide women with a dedicated new stage on which to perform along with Fraccari said the new Australian league will help to ensure that women are better represented and supported in the local sports culture, and the

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Vale is hopeful the competition will attract star players from around the world, given that Japan is the only country with a dedicated women's league.

"Internationally, there is a clear void and gap in the market," he said.

"The big leagues that dominate baseball come from the US, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and for various reasons there is not a huge appetite in those four big professional leagues to create a women's league."

Success not guaranteed

But leading business and sports journalist John Stensholt said securing long-term funding could be difficult.

"There's a lack of money, full stop, these days coming from sponsors and broadcasters, and it's going to the top echelon of sports," he said.

The Australian Emeralds greet world number one Japan at the Bendigo Challenge earlier this month.© ABC News The Australian Emeralds greet world number one Japan at the Bendigo Challenge earlier this month.

Baseball Australia has managed to raise about $30,000 so far, well short of its $250,000 target.

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The Women ' s Baseball World Series was an international tournament in which originally national women ' s baseball teams from around the world competed, before being overtaken by the Women ' s Baseball World Cup in 2004. It was sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation.

Funding a Women ' s Baseball League may not be easy, that' s why Baseball Australia , together with the Australian Sports Foundation, launched the "A “We are looking to create a pathway for our elite women baseballers and create a domestic league with international reach.” commented Cam Vale

It is hopeful the new licence holders can secure some sponsorship and state government funding before the season begins.

Stensholt said it would be difficult for a niche sport like women's baseball to compete, given the number of popular sports already on the market.

He said the league wouldn't be successful unless baseball built its domestic fan base.

"It needs like a Ben Simmons in the NBA — an Australian player to break through into the major leagues and be an absolute superstar."

Vale said he believed the new competition could ride off the momentum that AFL, rugby league and cricket had built for women's sport.

"If we get the quality right, we have the chance to be an international leader in this space," he said.

"We don't need to be the biggest or the best; this is not about challenging somebody else's space, this is about creating our own."

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