Rawlings has been named the official baseball, helmet and catchers' protective equipment provider for the Australian Baseball League (ABL), a 6-team national competition that begins its inaugural 40-game season in November 2010. The Adelaide Bite, Brisbane Bandits, Canberra Cavalry, Melbourne Aces, Perth Heat and Sydney Blue Sox will serve as founding clubs of the new league. Rawlings is a subsidiary of Jarden Team Sports.
“The ABL and Rawlings are a perfect fit,” said Mike Thompson, Rawlings' senior vice president of marketing. “Throughout its history, Rawlings has been associated with professional baseball and we look forward to broadening our professional baseball platform with this new affiliation. Our partnership with the ABL is confirmation that Rawlings is the preferred baseball brand for professional play worldwide.”
Modeled after its official partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the World Baseball Classic, Rawlings' baseballs and helmets will be exclusively used by all six ABL teams throughout the season and postseason. Rawlings will also outfit every ABL catcher with protective equipment, similar to what 2-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals wears on the field.
“We are thrilled to partner with one of the most iconic sports brands in the world as we embark on a new era in Australian baseball,” said Peter Wermuth, ABL chief executive officer. “Baseball in Australia has a long and rich heritage and a bright future with the new ABL set to launch. We are excited to join forces with a global leader like Rawlings and to expand the reach of both the sport and the Rawlings brand in Australia.”
A number of Australian players in MLB wear Rawlings' gloves, including Rich Thompson of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Trent Oeltjen of the Los Angeles Dodgers.