Athletes Unlimited Pro Softball extends deal to stay in Chicagoland: 'That’s where softball lives'

It’s a new pro sports league that involves shorter seasons and higher stakes.

Athletes Unlimited Softball has been game-changing for players, and now it’s set to call Chicago home for the next few seasons.

"It became very clear that this was going to be a difference maker in the women’s pro sports space," Athletes Unlimited Vice President Cheri Kempf said. 

Athletes Unlimited Softball season is set to begin on July 26th and runs through August 25th. It's going into their fifth season here in the Chicagoland area.

Four teams, five weeks and 60 of the world’s top softball players, all gathered in Rosemont.

"Softball is a tough sport," AU Pro Softball pitcher Alyssa Denham said. "It’s a game of failure, so being able to have strong women support you through the ups and downs has been one of the biggest blessing for me with athletes unlimited."

It's also a model where players call their own shots.

"When you take 60 players to Rosemont, they also go on a leaderboard: one through 60," Kempf said. "In the competition there are things that move them up and down the leaderboard."

That leaderboard also determines player-specific benefits.

"At the end of the league, it determines a bonus that every player gets," Kempf said. "It also determines the captains week by week."

Specifically, it determines weekly captains on rosters stacked with former college stars and Olympians.

"Everybody on this roster is an elite player," Kempf said. "They’re national team players, they’re Olympians."

Athletes Unlimited Softball has been providing players the chance to further their playing careers since its inaugural season in August 2020.

It’s now set to extend the softball series for the next 5 seasons in the Chicagoland area.

"No better place to launch softball and AU than Rosemont," Kempf said. "We started in 2020, so we’re still a very young league. To be able to have a confidence in a location, set down roots, and to grow a fanbase in a certain venue and town, I think that’s really important to us."

Of course, there’s no better place to continue growing the game than in the city that's also known as the birthplace of softball.

"That’s where softball lives," Denham said. "It’s where it belongs is in the Chicago area. We have so many fans and little girls that look forward to this every single year. You see the same familiar faces.. I’ve been able to be here for 4 years and just being able to create relationships with the youth and adult fans that thrive off the game of softball."


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