Tag Archives: Atlantic league

Atlantic League, American Association and Frontier League All Form Partnership with MLB

The top three independent leagues are now partner leagues with Major League Baseball.

Earlier this week, the Atlantic League announced their further partnership with the MLB.

ALPB Named First MLB Partner League

September 23, 2020 – Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has named the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) its first “Partner League.”  As a Partner League, ALPB will meet regularly with MLB to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities, including the leagues’ shared goal of providing baseball to communities throughout the United States.  This designation expands the current agreement between the leagues, which permits MLB to test experimental playing rules and equipment during Atlantic League games.  The existing agreement has also been extended through the 2023 season. During the 2019 season, MLB and ALPB partnered to successfully test the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS), which used radar tracking technology to assist home plate umpires in calling balls and strikes.  In addition, the Atlantic League tested rules limiting defensive shifting, mound visits, shortening inning breaks, and larger bases. “We are excited to extend our relationship with the Atlantic League, which provides us a unique means to push the sport forward,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations. “The Atlantic League clubs and players have been great partners to us as we jointly test ways to make our game even more interesting and engaging to fans.”  “The Atlantic League is inspired by the evolution of its relationship with Major League Baseball and thrilled to be named their first Partner League,” said ALPB President Rick White. “We value MLB’s confidence in ALPB and look forward to advancing our sport together.”  

Today, the American Association and Frontier League followed with announcements of their own.

American Association, Frontier League Designated as Partner Leagues of MLB

September 24, 2020 – Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has named both the American Association and the Frontier League as “Partner Leagues” of MLB. The American Association and the Frontier League join the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), which was designated a Partner League earlier this week.

As Partner Leagues, the Frontier League and the American Association will collaborate with MLB on initiatives to provide organized baseball to communities throughout the United States and Canada.

Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “We welcome the American Association and Frontier Leagues as Partner Leagues, and look forward to working with them toward our shared goal of expanding the geographic reach of baseball.”

“We look forward to our partnership with MLB incorporating the American Association into the MLB family. To grow America’s Pastime, it’s critical to bring all stakeholders in professional baseball to the table,” said American Association Commissioner Joshua Schaub. “We believe this association with Major League Baseball will culminate in a comprehensive agreement that will grow baseball and shine an even brighter light on the American Association. The American Association has already established itself as a premier professional league in North America, this partnership will only enhance the American Association’s stature among the professional baseball world.”

Frontier League Commissioner Bill Lee says, “The Frontier League is honored to become a Partner League with Major League Baseball. This partnership will be beneficial in growing our great game of Baseball in all of our United States and Canadian markets. Our teams and fans will all be excited to see the League grow in years to come. The Frontier League began in 1993, to have a relationship with Major League Baseball, is one of the greatest moments in League history.”

This could lead to a major restructuring of professional baseball across America as well as Canada.

MLB Trade Rumors and The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported that Minor league team owners who spoke with Drellich expressed trepidation that such partnerships could be used as leverage by MLB in ongoing talks with MiLB about a new Professional Baseball Agreement between the two parties.

It’s also possible that some clubs that are cut in the inevitable, broad-reaching contraction of the lower-level minor leagues could land in the Atlantic League or other newly appointed “partner leagues,” per Drellich. A timeline on additional agreements with the American Association, Frontier League or other indie circuits isn’t clear, but the PBA between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball expires next week.

Atlantic League Adds Gastonia, NC For 2021 Season

Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Expands to City of Gastonia, NC

Team Owner Brandon Bellamy Eager To Bring ALPB Excitement to Gastonia Community

(July 28, 2020, Gastonia, NC) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) announced today it is expanding to the City of Gastonia with a team ownership group led by Brandon Bellamy, CEO of Velocity Companies, Inc. Gastonia becomes the second Atlantic League location in North Carolina, joining High Point, where the Rockers began play in 2019.

“We are delighted to bring Atlantic League baseball to Gastonia, a city that has shown tremendous ingenuity and resolve, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ALPB President Rick White. “Under Mr. Bellamy’s ownership, this club and the ALPB will provide the community with best-in-class baseball and exceptional entertainment for years to come.”

In partnership with the City of Gastonia, Bellamy and The Velocity Companies will collaborate on economic development projects tied to the ballpark, which are expected to include residential, retail, hotel, and office space properties, a potential $100M investment opportunity for the City.

“When we learned of this incredible project, we realized it was an opportunity not just to own a team but also to connect with a community that deserves to be showcased,” said Bellamy. “The City of Gastonia has a strong entrepreneurial history, and we are excited to be a part of its continued growth. We look forward to becoming a good neighbor and making a lasting impact in Gastonia.”

The city’s 5,000-seat multi-use ballpark, which will be managed by the team, is under construction according to Atlantic League facility specifications and will host family-friendly programming, provide an intimate fan experience with sports and innovative gatherings, and offer a unique field configuration. The venue will serve as a community recreational asset open to all for its inaugural season in 2021, offering year-round access, anchored by ALPB play, plus entertainment events, community-based sports, and recreational activities. It will function as the centerpiece of the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment (FUSE) development, a transformative redevelopment project for the City of Gastonia.

“We are excited to have Mr. Bellamy join us in our continued efforts to create a great place that our community can be proud of,” said Gastonia’s Mayor Walker Reid, III. “This is a milestone for our city and an example of how economic development partnerships invigorate a community and prove to be mutually beneficial for all parties.”

City Manager Michael Peoples added, “This project required all of us to think outside of the box and work together for the City’s future. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Mr. Bellamy and the Atlantic League as we reimagine what Gastonia is capable of achieving.”

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About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent more than 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 23-year history. For more information, please visit AtlanticLeague.com.

About the Ball Club
The Gastonia baseball team will operate under the formal entity NC Gas House Gang, LLC and is majority owned by Velocity Companies, LLC CEO Brandon Bellamy (www.thevelocitycompanies.com). Among other investors, Mr. Bellamy is joined by ARCTRUST Properties, Inc. CEO Robert Ambrosi (www.arctrust.com).

About Brandon Bellamy
Brandon Bellamyis a passionate and purpose-driven real estate entrepreneur and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Velocity Companies. Over the past 30 years, Mr. Bellamy has excelled in real estate investment, real estate development, and private fund management. Mr. Bellamy couples a unique knowledge of market-rate and affordable housing development and a superior understanding of financial engineering to impact existing and developing communities. During his tenure at The Velocity Companies, the firm has developed and consulted on projects located in the Mid-Atlantic and the Carolinas with an aggregate asset value exceeding $500 million. For more information, please visit www.thevelocitycompanies.com.

About the City of Gastonia
Gastonia, NC, just minutes west of Charlotte, is one of the area’s best places to live and work with an ideal combination of location, size, and livability. Gastonia is the largest of Gaston County’s 15 municipalities and one of the largest cities in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Selected as an All-America City three times, Gastonia’s desirable quality of life is the result of its beautiful natural surroundings, friendly neighborhoods, responsive government, and vibrant business environment.