Welcome to the Professional Grand Softball Experiment


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Haylie Wagner, Gwen Svekis and Victoria Hayward all ran into one another’s arms upon the final out of their softball season, on Sept. 28. Wagner was the starting pitcher, Svekis her catcher and Hayward the center fielder, and theirs was the standard embrace of teammates winning a championship game: exhaustion mixed with joy, streaked with happy tears. Except that this situation was not standard at all. Almost a year earlier, they had been the first three players to sign on with an upstart, experimental league; and while they were, for this moment, on the same squad, they’d separated and rejoined sporadically over the course of the six-week season, acting as teammates one week and opponents the next. Though they had just won the final game of the season together, they had not won a championship. In fact, no team title was awarded. Instead, players were ranked individually, using a unique scoring system, and the lone gold medal went to one of their teammates, the staff ace, who had not even pitched that day.

This is the foundation of Athletes Unlimited: team sports reimagined to focus on individual players, with no head coaches, no club owners and no locked rosters. The novel new outfit is led by its performers, both in the sense that they draft their own teams and develop their own game strategies, and in the sense that they each have an ownership stake in the league. Every decision, from uniforms to sponsorships, runs through a player-run executive committee. With some success, the league’s founders hope this will all serve as a roadmap for the future of sports—and they believe their best chance at getting there is to start with women.


Go Buckeyes
Personally, I hate this new league. Maybe it is targeting a much younger audience than myself. I'm old-school. I follow a team (traditionally the local team) and the players on that team are the ones that I root for. This randomness isn't a competition, it is just a show. I do think allowing the players to be the owners of teams is an interesting idea but getting rid of teams entirely and playing a bunch of meaningless exhibition games for personal stats is a non-starter for me.


Well-known member
Like the NPF it will just be a handful of teams and never gain any traction.

At the end of the article the comment about women's sports being the best chance to start says it all.
Women's pro sports are not strong enough to support multiple leagues. Honestly; I don't know anyone that would want to spend their money watching live streamed contest and root for one or two players.
Heck, we are talking women's softball here....Unlike MLB go to girls 10 to 18 years of age and ask them to name 10 women's fastpitch players they follow.
They will most likely only know 2 or 3 and 1 or 2 of them don't even play anymore...

Thinking that consumers will make a destination or trip to see these games out of area is also way out there unless, the complex was put in tourist areas where there was a lot of youth Fastpitch tournaments.
Pigeon Forge, Orlando FLA, Chattanooga TN, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City several CA cities etc.

That way the players could have a job doing hospitality, restaurant etc. to live off of when they are not playing because the salary wont be much more than 5k to 8K a year at best if it took off...(NPF averages 7K a year to play 20 games over June and July).
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