Nashville, TN - As we move through fall, we are hustling for 2018 planning. Many think that fall is an “off season” for the league, but much like skills training, the “off season” is the time you really make the biggest strides, in terms of what the “in season” will look like. So, there is still much to do in the planning to make 2018 the best season yet.
The fall is also a time to look back at the last season and note the accomplishments. For players and teams, those accomplishments were tracked throughout the season with success awarded during, or at the culmination of, the season. For the league, much of the tracking is legwork of tallying exposure counts and activation points for partners and sponsors…how that was done, what worked, what didn’t and what the improvements might be in the future both from a value and an activation standpoint. It is a time to reflect on all aspects of the business and competition of the NPF and plan for steady and continued growth.
I am proud of the NPF accomplishments of 2017. Six teams played nearly 150 games en route to crowning a first time Cowles Cup Champion. For the first time in the history of an American professional sports franchise, an affiliate team from outside the contiguous United States, participated in regular season competition. People from over 120 countries enjoyed live action through NPFTV, The Olympic Channel, Flo Softball, MLB.com and Facebook Live.
Sponsor Partnership increased from manufacturers and suppliers , to a first time multi level presence of non-endemic partners. Once again, a group of dedicated and committed owners paid players to play, and covered the vast expenses of team operations for the sake of securing the sport at this level for future generations. And finally and unsurprisingly, the talented athletes of the NPF did what they do best and did not disappoint with record setting spectacular performances day in and day out over an 81 day season. The following details a summary of the 2017 season accomplishments. Thanks to all who supported the league in 2017! We are re-loading and preparing for a bigger and better 2018. STAY TUNED!
NPF - 2017 SEASON IN REVIEW?SPONSOR ADDITIONS
• Park Planet
• Vigilance Group
*Indicates sponsor is also an Official Supplier?**Indicates sponsor is an Exclusive Official Supplier
1. Positive Growth of Website, Streaming and Social Media Interaction
Website Traffic - +
Streaming (included NPFTV, mlb.com, FloSoftball, The Olympic Channel and Facebook
Twitter - +
Facebook - +
Instagram - +
2. Burn the Ships Documentary Released - The documentary debuted at the Cleveland Film Festival where it won the Director’s Award and was subsequently picked up for national distribution.
3. Introduction of first ever fully owned and operated international team; Beijing Shougang Eagles was a cooperative effort between Beijing Shougang (sponsor) and the Chinese Softball Association. The team is currently working actively purchasing the NPF franchise and considering growth.
4. Increased international participation from Australia, with 8 players rostered on the Chicago Bandits. The league also rostered players from Canada and the Netherlands.
5. NPFTV carried nearly 150 regular season games and the Championship Series in just its second year of existence. The digital platform generated nearly $50,000 in subscription revenue. Moreover, the platform increased its production quality and user friendliness and became an even stronger asset for the NPF in terms of marketing and transitioning for larger media involvement.
6. Championship Series in its first year in Baton Rouge, LA, hit some impressive number
3rd all time Championship Series total attendance
2nd all time in Saturday attendance
First year location attendance bested Sulphur 2010, Chicago 2012 and Hoover 2014
7. 805 Stats, the official stat company of the NPF launched a new stats website and stats app and made many improvements to their live game viewing feature. In addition, they completed a nearly 2 year process of compiling data from 4 different stat programs to formulate all-time player statistics, records and league and team historical data.
8. NPF players of 3 different teams participated for the second year in a row at the MLB All-Star Game Fanfest activities, signing autographs, engaging fans in interactive games and taking photos.
9. With the addition of a partnership with The Vigilance Group, the NPF provided vigilance and self-defense training for nearly every player in the league. The specialized, focused training teaches women to avoid creating an opportunity to be a victim of sexual assault, abduction and murder and also how to physically protect themselves and escape a direct confrontation with a perpetrator.
1. New Ownership took on the franchise of the Chicago Bandits. The Village of Rosemont, owner of The Ballpark at Rosemont and The Dome at the Ballpark, became the franchisee of the Chicago Bandits. The addition of a municipality operating an NPF franchise will surely be a positive addition for future growth of the league and responsible team operations.
2. USSSA Becomes WBSC Associate Member - announced in July, this honor bestowed on an organization that is an NPF franchisee expands the possibilities worldwide for integration of the NPF and the contribution opportunities for NPF players and teams to contribute positively to the participation and development of girls and women globally, in the category of stick and ball sports, particularly softball.
3. USSSA moves headquarters to Viera, FL taking over the former home of the Washington Nationals spring training facility and adding on a state of the art championship sports complex that will host youth and adult softball events for years to come. This presence will further the awareness of the NPF through USSSA Pride and additional events that will include Pride and other NPF player interaction.
4. Competition results set a record in winning their 5th regular season and 4th consecutive regular season title. The Scrap Yard Dawgs, in their second year as a franchise, won the coveted Cowles Cup as Champions of the Series.
For the first time in history, the #1 Draft selection came from the ACC and Florida State University. That selection, made by USSSA Pride, was pitcher, Jessica Burroughs.
The 2017 season enjoyed 2 No Hitters - Brittany Mack Oakes of the Texas Charge threw one in July followed approximately a week later by Monica Abbott of the Scrap Yard Dawgs.
Primary individual Awards.
Second year for Gold Glove Award in NPF - Chelsea Goodacre, catcher for USSSA Pride was the recipient of the prestigious award.
For the 3rd consecutive year, Pride outfielder, Kelly Kretschman was named the League Most Outstanding Player, an award presented in 2017 by Park Planet.
For a record 5th time in league history, Monica Abbott was named the Diamond Sports Pitcher of the Year.
Also for a league record, Abbott was awarded the Championship Series MVP award for a record 3rd time, a feat she accomplished while pitching for 3 separate teams.
STREAMING - NPFTV, The Olympic Channel, MLB.com, FloSoftball
* Over 120 Countries Tuned In to NPFTV
* 2017 Season - Streaming All Channels - Unique Viewers -150,000+
* 2017 Championship Series - Facebook Live - Nearly 260,000 Views