International & NPF

NPF Announces New Schedule Format for 2020

Image and release from National Pro Fastpitch

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 27, 2019) – National Pro Fastpitch announced today, the 2020 season schedule will take on an original, and brand new look for the league, placing competition inside a Series Event model designed for multi-team competition.

The new model will see regular season format change from one-on-one match-ups, to a multi-team format that will include a minimum of three teams. The teams will play each other in a pre-designed, fairly matched layout, which will ultimately determine a winner for each series.

Standings and Championship Series qualification will be based on a weighted point system that will award points for both head to head, and series wins. 

“The timing is perfect for NPF to move into this type of regular season schedule,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “With our current global footprint and desire to grow that aspect, the attractiveness and business sense surrounding event style competition, and the obvious sponsorship activation as well as multi-media appeal this type of format lends itself to, it’s clearly the right move for the leader in professional softball to take.”

In the 2020 format, franchisees, licensees, or independent hosts can host Series Events. The league will set forth established guidelines for hosts to follow that will include facility requirements and maintenance, game day preparation and activities, adequate inclement weather planning, etc. Series Events will fall under identifying titles such as Series 3, Series 4, Series 5, and so on, that will indicate the number of teams participating in each event.

“This format lends itself to a larger atmosphere for our players and fans,” continued Kempf. “Allowing hosts the latitude to choose when and where to hold events, and to be able to surround each one with ancillary activities, will let entities build a high quality overall experience for everyone. Formerly, it was difficult for the league to engage and be present with entities that were excellent at hosting quality events but did not own a team. This model allows those people to do what they do best and in doing that, create a high quality engagement around professional softball.”

Although teams have the option of staying with the traditional balanced model of hosting games in the Series Event format, the league’s new model does not require team owners to have a specific home venue or to host games. It is possible within the new model, for a team to simply opt for competition participation only, by choosing the Series Event locations and registering for their choices. The particular layout chosen, will be up to the discretion of the individual teams. 

The NPF just finished its 16th season of competition in 2019, with a record amount of fan interaction through league and team websites, social media platforms and streaming coverage that included the first ever comprehensive rights deal for digital content, through an agreement with Flo Softball. That engagement came from the 134 total games played between the six affiliate league teams from late May through mid-August.

Series Events date proposals are open through December 1, 2019. Throughout that time, Series Events can be announced, along with Series Event details of location, facility, size, ancillary events, and incentives. Teams will have through the end of 2019 to register for events and complete schedule planning. The league will announce the full slate of Series Events and teams participating in each one, in January 2020. 

About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets, and USSSA Pride. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and Mexico, and represent the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.

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