Northwoods League leads all United States baseball Leagues in attendance in 2020
No fans contracted Covid-19 virus
Rochester, Minn. – The Northwoods League announced today that 214,584 fans went through the turnstiles in 2020, leading all United States baseball leagues, at every level, in attendance. Operating out of 15 locations and breaking the League down geographically to limit travel, cities and States, in a term that has become common in the sporting world, were identified as “Pods” and were able to play 502 games with innovations designed to concentrate on safety for fans, players, umpires, staff and all concerned in the team operations.
“It’s a headline that one’s imagination could not conceive of on January 1, 2020,” said Northwoods League Chairman, Dick Radatz, Jr. “In conversations with our Owners, prior to play, my concern was for all parties, but always emphasizing our fans and the general public.”
Beginning in Bismarck, ND on June 15, three teams all located in Bismarck, began play with a team-imposed maximum attendance of 500 fans per contest, utilizing safety protocols that would become the standard for the rest of the Northwoods League and other baseball Leagues that opened thereafter.
Following on July 1, play began in the Wisconsin-Illinois and Minnesota-Iowa “Pods” with six and five League cities participating. Also beginning on July 1, were two Michigan “Pods” in Kalamazoo and Traverse City, featuring three teams in each location that would play each other, only in their respective locations, throughout the regular season.
Limited to 100 fans per contest by the State of Michigan and local mandate, perhaps the most innovative concept to accommodate fans and players, the Kalamazoo “Pod” began playing two five-inning games daily and three five-inning games on weekends, with a Home Run Derby preceding each contest, doubling and tripling their daily attendance, respectively.
On July 15, Kenosha, WI was cleared for play, but due to scheduling, the League could not bring them into the Wisconsin-Illinois “Pod” to create an awkward seven teams. Consequently, the Kenosha Kingfish were joined by the K-Town Bobbers, in Kenosha, to play each other in a 24-game season. All in all, the League had 22 teams play in six states and 15 cities, navigating local attendance guidelines, sometimes differing within the same State.
In the 15 Counties that the Northwoods League participated in during the summer, no positive test for the Covid-19 virus traced back to attendance at a Northwoods League game.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 245 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.