Members of Japan’s most successful baseball team arrived in Adelaide in December to connect with elite South Australian sporting organisations on a trip set to pave the way for future training and development opportunities.
Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants sent a team of experts to gain insight into how local clubs, including the Adelaide Crows and Adelaide Giants, operate – as the global superstars explore making Adelaide their long-term spring training destination.
The tour is a direct result of a meeting with the Giants on a recent South Australian Government trade mission to Japan, demonstrating the value of sports diplomacy and growing relationship between Adelaide and the world’s third-largest economy.
The Yomiuri Giants hold a record 22 championships with one of the biggest fan bases across Asia in any sport – and securing the squad in Adelaide during Japan’s off season would present a massive trade, investment and local tourism boost.
The visit comes just three weeks after South Australia attracted 70 students from some of Japan’s top universities to compete in a Junko baseball series against the Adelaide Next Generation Giants, pumping an estimated more than $100,000 into the local economy.
Representatives from the Yomiuri Giants include the team’s bio-mechanist, team analyst and baseball analyst who also acts as an international talent scout.
The delegation will learn from one of the sporting world’s best data and analytics managers, Alex Buttfield. The Adelaide Giants sport scientist also works for Major League baseball team Philadelphia Phillies in the United States.
They will also witness Crows’ fitness coach Darren Burgess put the AFL squad through their paces at training, followed by a tour of the clubrooms and gym, as well as visiting the South Australian Sports Institute for in-depth analysis of future talent.
Lessons learned on this trip will work both ways, with local sports professionals able to tap into Japan’s world-class expertise – and build on the business opportunities that South Australia has to offer.