–National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) announced today that coverage of the 2011 NPF Championship Series will be carried on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. The networks will cover the finals of the League’s hallmark event, a culmination of the season that places all four NPF teams in tournament format action over the weekend of August 18 through the 21. The event will take place for the second year in a row in Sulphur, La. at McMurry Park.
The Championship Series format places the four NPF teams in seeded positions based on their regular season standings. The No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed in a best-of-three series while the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds will play each other in a best-of-three series. The winners of those two series will face off in a best-of-three Final Series that begins at 8:00 p.m. ET Saturday, August 20 with the first game. Game 2 of the Final Series will take place live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com Sunday, August 21, at 2 p.m. EST with the “if necessary” game following at 5 p.m. EST. In the event an “if game” is necessary, it will be available in prime time on Monday August, 22 at 10 p.m. EST on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
“Since this is the World Series of professional softball, we are thrilled with ESPN’s decision to carry the Championship to a nationwide audience,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “This will be everyone’s opportunity to see the game’s best athletes match-up in the game’s highest level of competition. The NPF is extremely grateful to the Calcascieu Parish Police Jury for their support of the televised games and a sincere thank you goes out to each of the Twenty for 20 Campaign contributors. These are the people who have made this event possible to be televised.”
The coverage of the NPF’s Championship Series marks the second telecasts of League action on ESPN in 2011. On June 11, ESPN2 carried a regular season Opening Weekend match-up between the Chicago Bandits and the USSSA Florida Pride from ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The two additional teams that will take the field in Sulphur along with Chicago and USSSA are the Akron Racers and the NPF Diamonds.
“ESPN is proud to be a supporter and telecast partner for the NPF. We are proud to demonstrate our commitment to women’s professional sports,” stated Carol Stiff, ESPN Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions.
In Sulphur in 2010, the NPF Championship Series drew record crowds. It was also where fastpitch softball legend and five-year Chicago Bandit veteran, Jennie Finch bid the game adieu in front of a large gathering of hometown fans, friends, family, and teammates. The 2010 Final Series of the Championship saw USSSA Florida Pride beat the three-peat regular season champion, Chicago Bandits, in three games to become the eventual winner of the Cowles Cup, a franchise first.
“Southwest Louisiana is again grateful as the host site to be a part of the most unique softball championship event in the world.” commented Sulphur Parks and Recreation Director, Norman Farr. “We are excited to be the only venue in 2011 where you will be able to see former Olympians, college standouts, and veteran professionals, all competing on one field.”
The Championship Series will be surrounded by additional promotional events including an NPF/Ringor Friends of the Pros Game (for disabled athletes), Battle of the Bats Competition Finals, NPF 2011 Season Awards Luncheon, NPF Umpires School, and a special clinic hosted by Jennie Finch. In addition to that, a series of USSSA youth qualifying tournaments as well as the newly formed UCBL league championship will coincide with the NPF Championship Series.
The NPF regular season opened June 9 and concludes August 14. All four teams then participate in the NPF Championship Series in Sulphur, La., August 18 - 21. In addition to the televised games, fans will be able to catch all additional Championship Series action on the NPF website through live streaming video throughout the event.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit championship.profastpitch.com
About National Pro Fastpitch:
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The League, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL).