Denver, CO- Nov. 12, 2007- National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) owners concluded a three-day meeting in Chicago this past weekend, league commissioner Cheri Kempf announced today. In the annual meeting, the six owners of the NPF teams – Chicago Bandits, Rockford Thunder, Philadelphia Force, New England Riptide, Akron Racers and Washington Glory – addressed and approved a number of important items regarding the upcoming 2008 season.
NPF owners agreed to accept offers from national corporations that are interested in League-naming rights. “This gives corporations a very unique opportunity for truly effective business-to-consumer relationship marketing. Beyond simple advertising, name recognition with National Pro Fastpitch League delivers relevant interaction with more than millions of consumers a year that builds strong, lasting brand awareness and product loyalty”, said Kempf.
The owners approved a 48-game schedule which is up from 44 games last season. This will consist of a balanced schedule in which each NPF team will play 40 games against their NPF counterparts. In addition to five (5) home and seven (7) away series with each NPF team, the schedule allows for each team to play eight (8) home games against a visiting national Olympic team. Team Australia and Team Netherlands will be at Philadelphia, New England, and Washington, while Team Canada and Team Venezuela will be hosted by Akron, Chicago, and Rockford
NPF owners also ratified the formation of "Team NPF", a team of players from each NPF team who will compete against the USA Olympic Team in June of 2008. "Team NPF will be the best competition for Team USA as they prepare for the 2008 Olympics. NPF is honored to be part of this process and looks forward to finalizing negotiations with USA Softball," said Kempf.
Approval of a development team for each franchise was granted by the owners. Up to five (5) players will be allowed on the development team. Developmental players will play an integral part in team promotions, clinics, community outreach programs and training programs similar to the developmental teams in the NFL, NBA, and NHL.
An entirely new media program was approved which will include the broadcast of regularly scheduled games to fans across the country, plus a redesigned website with new features and enhanced exposure for NPF players.
It was agreed that NPF will utilize the new strike zone standards that the NCAA will adopt for 2008 in order to promote consistency for both umpires and players. The owners are also committed to upgrading and instituting an umpire program consistent with professional level of play.
The owners approved the promotion of a "Road to Kimberly" campaign including NPF's version of a homerun derby which will be introduced in individual markets at the start of the season and will conclude with the Championship Series scheduled for August 22-24, 2008 in Kimberly, Wisconsin.
Lastly, the owners announced that the 2008 NPF Draft will be broadcast live on February 18.
"We look forward to launching many new fan-friendly and sponsor-friendly programs which will provide more exposure for the league and assure our continued growth and recognition as the premiere fastpitch league in the U.S.," stated Kempf.
About National Pro Fastpitch National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names Women’s Pro Fastpitch and Women’s Pro Softball League.