What do baseball games in Sydney have to do with business events?

By Brad Foster

In a press release titled Baseball Fever Hits Sydney, Destination NSW not only announced details of Sydney playing host for the first time to two Major League Baseball games (March 22 and 23) but highlighted an activation strategy that goes far beyond the confines of the host venue, the Sydney Cricket Ground.

It’s clever marketing, and is indicative of the new thinking at the organisation which is aiming to leverage far more from major events it is supporting.

The release says the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will travel to Sydney to play their first two games of the season. An all Australian team will play the two teams in warm up games on March 20 and March 21.

It then focuses on activities happening throughout the city at the same time, obviously for those who won’t be going to the game but want to get in on the action just the same:

Baseball on the big screen

For any sports fans that miss out on the opportunity to watch the games live at the SCG, they won’t miss out entirely, with many of Sydney’s bars and pubs getting into the baseball action.

Darling Harbour will come alive all week with the MLB Roadshow set to get fans of all ages in the mood for the Opening Series.  Throw a curve ball, meet some of the stars of the Australian Baseball League and join in the celebration as Sydney gets ready for the biggest sporting event of the year.

The Sports Bar at The Star will be televising the games, with the bar set up like a baseball pitch and bar staff decked out in baseball kits. While Cargo Bar and the Sugarmill will be showing the games live in both venues.

Parlour Burger, the New York style burger bar in Sydney’s CBD, will be screening all the baseball games live across four plasmas and will offer a cheese and bacon burger plus a Budweiser for $15.

Hot dogs, sliders and all things American

What better way to get into the baseball spirit than by enjoying a slider or hotdog at one of Sydney’s many American-inspired restaurants and bars. Soda Factory brings a slice of New York City to Surry Hills. Enter via Bobby’s Boss Dogs shop front, once inside order one of the huge hot dogs and try an apple pie-flavoured Levenstein cocktail, named after the American Pie movie.

Marly Kitchen at Newtown’s Marlborough Hotel combines Australian pub food with American classics. The signature dish is waffles, including US favourites Fried Chicken and Waffles and the Philly Cheese Experiment. Down the road, Hartsyard features a menu straight from the American Deep South. The US-style diner serves up golden fried chicken served with American-style scones and for dessert there is the pretzel ice cream sundae.

Jazz City Milk Bar in Darlinghurst is a classic, American milk bar. The diner serves authentic American burgers, hotdogs, chicken and waffles with all the trimmings, as well as milkshakes and freshly baked cherry and banana cream pies.

While in Darlinghurst, stop for a drink at 1950’s cocktail club inspired bar, Hinky Dinks. A mix of Mad Men meets Happy Days, the drinks list includes retro tipples such as the Banana Nuclear Daiquiri or the Hinky Fizz. The bar also serves American-style nibbles, including pulled pork sliders, pineapple fritters and New Orleans chicken skewers.

Across the bridge, Blue Plate in Neutral Bay features American favourites including authentic Buffalo hot wings, ribs, Jambalaya, standard of American sandwiches, plus pumpkin, pecan, or apple pie just to name a few.

Where to stay to be amongst the baseball action

When the baseball hits town, fans will want to be close to all the action taking place around Sydney. The QT Hotel, situated in the restored Gowings and State Theatre buildings in Sydney’s CBD, features 200 guest suites with quirky design, luxurious bedding and an indulgent oversized soaking tub.

The QT’s spaQ Barber Shop will get into the spirit of Major League Baseball, offering custom-created ‘Chin Music Shave’ for sluggers and guests on game day and throughout the month of March. The treatment will include the Barber Shop’s straight-edged blade shave by steam room experience and a traditional Baseball game day meal, a hot dog and beer in Parlour Lane Roasters.

Located in the historic Rocks district, the luxury Four Seasons Hotel Sydney overlooks Sydney Harbour with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Offering stylish guest rooms and suites, the Hotel has recently launched a new street-front bar, Grain, and restaurant, The Woods.

Closer to the SCG, the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, offers 241 spacious guestrooms. Overlooking Hyde Park, the hotel is a five minute drive from the Sydney Cricket Ground and just minutes from the shops, restaurants and nightlife of Oxford, Stanley and Crown Streets.

Earlier release

Baseball isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but with a little planning it could certainly be a nice highlight for any conference or incentive travellers in town at the same time. Perhaps Destination NSW’s only mistake is not releasing this information earlier to allow business events coming to Sydney during this period the time to plan to combine a little bit of baseball into their programs.

Image courtesy of James Horan.