Baseball: Auckland Tuatara franchise placed into liquidation after COVID-19 disrupted seasons

Auckland Tuatara.
Auckland Tuatara. Photo credit: Photosport

Auckland Tuatara have gone into liquidation and withdrawn from the Australian Baseball League, effective immediately.

Just five years after the club was founded, the financial impact of COVID-19 has made no longer feasible to operate.

After advancing to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, travel restrictions forced them to sit out two years, but they returned to reach the semi-finals in 2023, losing to eventual champions Adelaide Giants.

Club directors have expressed their regret at the decision, but despite significant investment, the rising costs proved too much to overcome.

"After everything we've done to bring professional baseball to New Zealand, it is heartbreaking to confirm the company has been placed into liquidation," they said.

"Shortly after bringing the franchise to life, we were hit with the impacts of COVID, travel restrictions and the financial implications that came with it.

"After somehow traversing that, we were finally able to return to competition last summer, only for Auckland to be hit with one of the worst summers weatherwise in memory.

"We lost parts of three of our five home series, due to weather, while rain impacted crowd attendance in the games that were played. Insurance has been slow to pay out, as many around the North Island are finding at this time.

"The costs of participating have skyrocketed over the past few months and all teams competing in the ABL have found it challenging financially.

"We feel for the staff, who have worked tirelessly to keep the lights on, for the players and coaches that no longer have a local team to play for, and for the sport that has lost its public face. It is a very sad day for our sport."