As 2018 quickly comes to a close, I’d like to take the time to reflect on what has been a welcoming and fulfilling first six months as CEO of Softball Australia.
First of all, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the Australian softball community, your passion and dedication to the game is infectious and it’s thanks to you we have so many exciting events and initiatives coming up in 2019.
In November we launched The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball, an exciting new format that we at Softball Australia see as an incredibly valuable asset moving forward. This event will reshape the landscape of softball in Australia and provide an edge of your seat experience for spectators and fans as well as a high-pressure environment for our talented players.
Not only will it become a high intensity television and commercial product thanks to our partnership with FOX SPORTS Australia, but the Fully Loaded Softball format gives us a great tool to help drive participation across clubs and associations around the country.
Softball Australia research shows that many people cannot afford the time it takes to play a traditional season of softball, not because they don’t want to, but because they are time-poor. The shorter game allows participants to continue playing the game they love and still have time to themselves.
We look forward to working with our member States, associations and clubs in rolling out the new format in their own competitions in the coming months.
Of course, in the lead up to the Summer Slam, we have a feast of softball ahead of us starting with the battle for the 2019 Gilley’s Shield along with National Championships held across WA, ACT, SA and NSW. Our representative season begins at Blacktown International Sportspark for the 2019 Asia Pacific Cup, this year is particularly important in regards to Olympic qualification and is going to be a crucial tournament for our Travelodge Aussie Spirit girls.
In exciting news for Australian softball fans, the final round of the Asia Pacific Cup will once again be broadcast on FOX SPORTS Australia followed by the entire Summer Slam and in a huge boost for the men’s game, the TAB Challenge Cup in New Zealand will be beamed back to Australia live on FOX SPORTS.
It’s the first broadcast deal in Softball Australia’s history and it all adds up to seven days of Australian softball live and in primetime, it’s a huge boost for the profile of the sport in our country.
At a commercial level, Softball Australia is building strong commercial momentum thanks to the support of sponsors such as Travelodge Hotels, East Coast Car Rentals and FOX SPORTS Australia, not only have these partnerships already benefited our High Performance arm, but we are always working to pass on benefits to the wider softball community.
Keep an eye on our digital channels early in 2019 to find out how you can take advantage of what our generous sponsors have on offer.
Finally, I’d like to thank all of the member states for their support in the direction Softball Australia has taken over the last six months. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you in 2019.
Again, thank you to everyone who picked up a glove and stepped onto a diamond across the country in 2018, we certainly have a lot of work ahead of us but with your support, Softball Australia is confident next year will be monumental for the sport.
I wish you a safe and happy holiday break and can’t wait to carry this momentum into the New Year.
Chief Executive Officer