JackHammers Join New North American League

November 19, 2010 - Northern League (NL) - Joliet JackHammers News Release

(San Ramon, CA. November 18, 2010) The Golden Baseball League, Northern League, and the United League announced today that they have joined forces in the creation of a new professional independent league that will be known as the North American Baseball League. The league will have 16 - 20 teams in multiple countries and cover many of the major markets in the U.S. and Canada in 2011 with expansion already set for 2012. Except for major league baseball, it will be the largest professional league in terms of number of teams and geographies and amongst the top minor leagues in terms of attendance. The existing leagues will keep their names and their baseball operations structure while consolidating and enhancing a number of business activities and will adhere to a single and consistent set of league operating by-laws.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the teams of these three leagues", said Kevin Outcalt, Chief Executive of Diamond Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns and operates the Golden League. "This will provide more value to our marketing and business partners, more exposure for our players to advance their careers, and increased excitement and fun for the fans of all of our ballclubs. In addition, the business advantages of league-wide advertising and sponsor revenue, collective/volume purchasing to lower costs, and shared best practices amongst the teams in the league should drive additional profitability for the North American Baseball League member clubs."

The structure of the NABL will be set up with the three original leagues covering their respective regions where the teams will play approximately 75% of their games within their region and 25% outside their region/division. This will be followed by playoffs that will conclude with a North American Championship Series. It is anticipated that the league will play a 92 - 100 game regular season schedule that will be determined at the inaugural NABL meetings that will be held in northern California at the end of this month. Currently all four of the existing Northern League teams (Rockford Riverhawks, Schaumburg Flyers, Lake County Fielders, and Joliet Jackhammers) along with the five United League teams (Edinburg Coyotes, Amarillo Dillas, San Angelo Colts, Coastal Bend Aviators, and Harlingen Whitewings) have joined with the western-based teams of the Golden Baseball League (Chico Outlaws, Edmonton Capita ls, Calgary Vipers, Na Koa Ikaika Maui, Yuma Scorpions, Tijuana Embajadores, and the Orange County Flyers). It is expected that additional teams will be announced in the coming weeks as well. The full slate of 2011 NABL teams and the makeup of each region will be announced following the league meeting. Baseball related playing rules will also be finalized including player classification/eligibility and playing rules (National League or American League).

"This is an excellent move for the Northern League," said Northern League Commissioner Clark Griffith. "By becoming part of this new league, we will enjoy benefits that can't be found anywhere else in minor league baseball and some exciting opportunities that were never available in the Northern League in the past."

Although these three leagues totaled 35% of the professional independent minor league baseball teams in North America in 2010, they were responsible for placing half of the players on the Baseball America Indy Top Prospects list and six of the fourteen players named to the all Independent Leagues First Team by Baseball America. In addition, the three leagues have sold 35 player contracts to major league organizations so far in 2010 and are all recognized as an important source of baseball talent including players, umpires, coaches/managers, and front office/business personnel by big league clubs.

In a joint statement, Byron Pierce and John Bryant, the principals of Reunion Sports Groups that owns and operates the United League stated, "We are thrilled to have the United League as a member of this new league. We expect rapid growth in the south and have a number of new markets that will be eager and excited to be a member of what should quickly become the premier professional minor league."

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