TODAY |

'Everyone wants to be here' - America's major sports eyeing Kiwi summer exposure

With more and more American sport being canned due to Covid-19, New Zealand has all of a sudden become hot property.

American baseball teams are flooding Kiwi officials with calls, in the hope of sending their players down under for some much needed gametime this summer.

The move is a huge vindication for Regan Wood, the CEO of the Auckland Tuatara.

"There was probably 46 people in New Zealand that said, 'Hey, we want a professional baseball team in Auckland at North Harbour Stadium,'" Wood told 1 NEWS.

Now billion dollar Major League Baseball sides are calling, with the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres planning to send their top prospects to New Zealand, where they'd play against Asian, Australian and Kiwi players in a mini league.

All of that before the next Australian Baseball League season.

"Even the New York Mets are going, 'Hey, don't forget about us, we wanna send you our players here this year.'

"They know that if they send a player here they're gonna be safe."

Tuatara manager Steve Mintz is hopeful of a good experience for those prospect, in the hope of spreading the word of baseball in New Zealand.

"We've just got to continue to build these relationships, take care of the ones we do get, so when they go back they tell a great story," Mintz says.

Baseball won't be the only code to benefit either, with basketball's Breakers fielding daily calls from the US, owner Matt Walsh revealed.

"Everyone wants to come to our league," Walsh says.

"They know that the league has grown, they know we've got NBA exposure. And now that they know we've done such a good job with coronavirus, everyone wants to be here."