More Speculation About Independent Baseball Leagues Realigning

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There has been a lot of news in recent days about some combination of realignment between the American, Northern, and Frontier Leagues.  Here are some of the articles:

The question about all of this is how much is hype, how much is personality coming into play, and how much is simply due to the economics of travel costs and other economies of scale.  Obviously, travel costs are the most logical element as reducing bus/gas costs, possible extra hotel stays, plus overall “wear and tear” on the players is beneficial.  Players have the likelihood of playing to more of their potential, teams save money, and there is the possibility of increasing fan base interest due to closer geographic rivalries.

The other question is how much are the leagues willing to work together for the survival of the industry, despite some old grudges and financial/legal issues in the past.  If you were to take a quick look at the 64 independent baseball teams which played at least one game this year (across the 8 leagues) then your intuition would tell you that the majority did not make money.  While this could be due to a number of factors such as late starts for teams, poor stadiums, weak ownership, and overall poor markets it still does not bode well for:

  • the reputation of the industry
  • attracting future capital
  • attracting any form of legitimate television revenues, national merchandising, and other markers of a successful entertainment industry niche

Several posts on this site over the last year have congratulated the leagues whenever they do any form of inter-league activity.  These included the Northern League and Golden League having a join open tryout, inter-league exhibitions, and the Northern/Golden All-Star Game.  Hopefully the spirit of cooperation, if for nothing more than economic survival and increasing each team’s ownership valuation, will pervade intelligently.

Should the independent minor league baseball business have a formal announcement of realignment in the coming days then it will be posted here.   In addition, should other independent leagues be affected then the information will be shared here as well.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on this situation and what you believe would be beneficial to the teams and leagues from a financial standpoint.  Obviously the “fan” in each of us wants to see great games, but please leave your comments based on helpful thoughts as to what the teams could do in terms of cutting costs and increasing attendance + overall team valuations.  Thank you.


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