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Little League Announces Dates for World Series Tournaments

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Nov. 24, 2003) – The sites and dates for the eight World Series tournaments in Little League Baseball and Softball were announced today by Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball.

For the 58th year, the Little League Baseball World Series will be played in Williamsport, Pa. The first games will be played on Friday, Aug. 20, and the tournament will end on Sunday, Aug. 29 with the world championship for baseball players 11-12 years old.

Williamsport has been the home of Little League since it was founded there in 1939, and the final game of the tournament is traditionally on the weekend before the Labor Day weekend. Labor Day in 2004 falls on Sept. 6.

Last August, 26 of 32 games of the 2003 Little League Baseball World Series were televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. It was the first time since the World Series expanded in 2001 from eight teams to 16 that all teams had at least one game on national television. In 2004, 27 Little League Baseball World Series games are scheduled to be televised.

“Each year, Little League is blessed with these high-profile events that allow us to bring the benefits of Little League to thousands of people locally, and to millions of people worldwide on television,” Mr. Keener said. “We are looking forward to another outstanding tournament season in 2004, and to reaching even more people than ever.”

Forty games to be televised
In all, 40 games in Little League Baseball and Softball will be televised nationally in August 2004.

Three games of the Little League Softball World Series (for 11-12-year-old girls), will be televised live on ESPN2 from Portland, Ore. That tournament is set for Aug. 11-19.

The championship game of the Junior League Baseball World Series (for 13-14-year-olds) will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN2. That World Series will be played Aug. Aug. 15-21 in Taylor, Mich.

The championship game of the Big League Softball World Series (16-18-year-old girls) will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN2. That tournament, played in Kalamazoo, Mich., will be Aug. 16-21.

The other four World Series dates and sites are: Senior League Baseball (14-16-year-olds), at Bangor, Maine, Aug. 15-21; Big League Baseball (16-18-year-olds), at Easley, S.C., July 30-Aug. 7; Junior League Softball (13-14-year-old girls), at Kirkland, Wash., Aug. 15-21; and Senior League Softball (14-16-year-old girls), at Roxanna, Del., Aug. 15-21. As of November 2003, these games are not scheduled to be televised. Of all the World Series tournaments in Little League Baseball and Softball, only the Senior League Softball World Series is being played at a site different from last year.

For the eighth consecutive year, ESPN2 will again televise all of the U.S. Regional final games in the Little League Baseball Division. However, all the championship games will be played on eight nights, as opposed to two final games for each of four nights.

The Southeastern Region final game (St. Petersburg, Fla.) is first, on Aug. 7, followed by: the Midwest Region final and the Great Lakes Region finals (both in Indianapolis) on Aug. 8 and 9, respectively; the Southwest Region final (Waco, Texas) on Aug. 10; the Northwest Region final and the West Region final (both in San Bernardino, Calif.) on Aug. 11 and 12, respectively; and the New England Region final and the Mid-Atlantic Region final (both in Bristol, Conn.) on Aug. 14 and 15, respectively.

Specific times and dates for all televised games will be announced in June 2004.

Early start for LLB regionals
The Little League Baseball Division regional schedules are being played a few days earlier than in previous years to avoid conflicts with the 2004 Olympic Games.

“The Little League Baseball World Series and the regional tournaments leading up to it have become highly visible public events,” Mr. Keener said. “It is certainly in everyone’s best interests to ensure that television viewers around the world will be able to watch both Little League and the Olympic Games next year.”

Region tournament start dates will vary, but the slightly earlier dates will not translate to earlier starting dates for district tournaments (the most basic level in the Little League International Tournament). In 2004, most district tournaments will begin on or about July 1, with the earliest date being June 28. (District administrators may request, however, to start their district tournaments on June 26.)

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