Moving baseball HQ to Lismore could deliver up to $20m boost
LISMORE City Council estimates between $15 to 20 million could flow into the local economy annually if its discussions with Baseball Australia to relocate to Lismore are successful.
However, between $3.5-5 million would be needed from the Federal or State governments to upgrade the council's current facilities at Albert Park, Lismore.
Mitch Lowe, the council's tourism and events manager, said the talks came after Baseball Australia discovered it would be unable to continue using its current home ground at Palm Meadows, Queensland.
"They would be relocating tournaments and their Major League Baseball Australia Academy and we'd also have to get it up to standard for international events and training camps," Mr Lowe said.
"From our perspective, if we can get them to host their events down at Lismore and we are the home of Australian baseball, we're looking at $15 to $20 million per year coming in.
"We've secured the Little League Baseball Championships in June, which is the largest junior baseball event in Australia. That shows some confidence, but I think we need to seize the opportunity."
Mr Lowe said Lismore MP Thomas George and Page MP Kevin Hogan "were positive on the concept".
"We need to be on the front foot and take it to the Federal Government with Baseball Australia," he said.
Northern Star's baseball correspondent Rob Baxter said it would be "magic" if Baseball Australia called Lismore home.
"Everyone is hoping it might be pushed through before the State Election (in March)," he said. "Baseball Australia had a lease agreement with a Japanese fellow and the lease is over. That was the end of that and they're trying to find a place."
Far North Coast Baseball's Rod Green welcomed the news and said the organisation would likely discuss the council's proposal further at its annual general meeting this week.
He said there would be enormous benefits to Lismore, and especially its baseball community, if Baseball Australia did shift south.
A Baseball Australia spokeswoman said it was "in discussion with Lismore City Council as it pertains to our events that we've got locked in Lismore".
She was unable to confirm any further talks but added "Lismore is a great baseball community and we're exploring all options".