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NPF Announces Colorado Franchise

DENVER, COLO. - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), the nation's only women's professional fastpitch softball league, announced here Monday (June 30) that Colorado has signed on as the latest franchise to the growing league. Based out of the Denver metro area, the Colorado team will begin playing in 2004.

The Colorado franchise is part of the plan to launch an eight-team league next summer. The Colorado team will be joining current franchises in Boston, Akron, Houston, Tucson and Sacramento. Other potential markets include Philadelphia, New York/New Jersey, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City.

NPF is the official development partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women's fastpitch softball. The league is currently conducting a 17-city All-Star Tour, holding events with 12 Major League Baseball Clubs around the country. The NPF All-Star team will be featured at Monday's Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field. The All-Star players will be available to meet and sign autographs during the game.

Danny Stroud, partner and managing director of private investment firm Geronimo Partners, is the owner of the new Colorado team. As the father of two young daughters who play competitive softball, Stroud invested in the Denver NPF team for personal and financial reasons. "I love this sport," said Stroud. "It's extremely entertaining, and we want to bring this exciting professional-level sport to Denver and all of Colorado. We want to give women athletes the opportunity for a professional sports career and provide a compass point to guide young girls' aspirations."

"It is a very exciting time for NPF," said NPF President Richard Levine. "We know the expansion teams need to have independent ownership, quality facilities and strong community support. We also know from a league perspective, fans are looking for this kind of entertainment."

Stroud's goals also include making the team a strong business venture for the community. From analyzing how fastpitch teams operate in other markets, he intends to attract a strong base of local fans and hold regional and national tournaments that will economically benefit the local community.

Claud York, a passionate supporter of girls' fastpitch in Denver, joins Stroud as a partner in the Denver NPF team. York formed and operates a girls' fastpitch club called the Colorado Wildfires in south Denver. He is currently negotiating the facility for the Denver NPF team, and is reportedly close to securing a site. York is an e-commerce business analyst for Arris-TeleWire Supply, a communications technology company.

Stroud and York also have strong philanthropic aspirations for the new fastpitch team. "We're going to focus back on the community to create opportunities for girls who can't play, for one reason or another," said Stroud. The pair will set up scholarship programs, team clinics, player and coach training, and facilities development as ways to assist more girls in enjoying the sport of softball.

On a national level, Major League Baseball is the Official Development Partner of National Professional Fastpitch in the category of women's professional fastpitch softball. The partnership is part of The Commissioner's Initiative on Women and Baseball, a league-wide effort launched in 2000 to help Major League Baseball and the 30 Major League Clubs build stronger relationships with female audiences.

Softball is enjoying an unparalleled period of growth locally and nationwide. In Colorado, there are over 1,000 adult and youth softball teams registered with the Amateur Softball Association, and hundreds more that play unaffiliated. The success of the U.S. Olympic women's fastpitch team, coupled with the demand for more female sports opportunities, resulted in a 67.3 percent national increase in the number of female softball players at the high school level from 1980 to 2000, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Headquartered in Denver, National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) was created to give elite women fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport. The NPF has operated since 1997 under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL).

pictured: left, Claud York, partner and Danny Stroud, owner of the new NPF team in Denver.


CONTACT - www.profastpitch.com
·Tracy Boyle, Sander/GBSM, 303/888-4803, TracyBoyle@gbsm.com
·Danny Stroud, NPF Colorado Franchise partner, 303/973-9375
·Rich Levine, CEO and President, National Pro Fastpitch , 303/316-7800
·Tim Simmons, National Pro Fastpitch, 303/678-8484, tims@profastpitch.com
·Aaron Moore, NPF On-Site Media Information, 720/318-1205,
aaronm@profastpitch.com
·Reed Saunders, NPF On-Site Public Relations, 970/219-0232,
reeds@profastpitch.com