Increase in Participation Fee for Little League International Tournament Will Bring More Benefits
Beginning with the 2011 Little League Baseball and Softball International Tournament, the local league participation fee per team will increase to $150.00.
The decision to increase the tournament entry fee was made during November’s annual meeting of the Little League International Board of Directors.
Patrick W. Wilson, Vice President of Operations for Little League International, cited the relocation of the Little League Softball Region Tournaments in the United States to each of the five U.S. Region Headquarters, and the associated costs of travel reimbursement to local leagues as primary reasons for the increase.
“The decision to have the regional centers host both the Little League Baseball and Little League Softball Region Tournaments requires each tournament committee to incur several additional costs associated with operating two separate, yet equally important events,” Mr. Wilson said. “Moving the participation fee to $150.00 per team also will help to provide each of the local host committees at Little League’s seven other World Series sites with the additional funds necessary to accommodate room and board for the teams and umpires, as they transition from the often difficult logistics of several sites using host families.”
Also necessitating the rise in the tournament entry fee are team transportation and travel reimbursement, along with the expenses associated with the hosting of teams and umpires at various World Series locations.
Since its beginning, the Little League International Tournament has served as a reward to local leagues for their annual chartering and participation in the Little League program. Each year, local leagues make the choice to enter the postseason tournament, which in its 64 seasons has grown to be the largest elimination tournament in the world.
“Little League has always been about local communities coming together to create and support a program that is distinctly their own,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Each neighborhood chooses to be a part of the Little League program and most take advantage of the opportunity to continue playing beyond their regular season.
“Little League International, like its local leagues, relishes the memories made along the tournament trail and holds those memories in the highest regard,” Mr. Keener said. “Intent on keeping the focus on the special experiences, the decision was made to increase the fee to play tournament, but it was done so in the best interest of thousands of teams that participate each summer.”
Over the decades, diversity and refinement of the program has yielded 12 distinct divisions of tournament play, with eight age divisions (four in baseball and four in softball) culminating with World Series tournaments.
The younger age groups conclude their postseason tournaments at the state level, yet all teams participating in tournament play and advancing past the district level - the first level of the tournament - are eligible for reimbursement. A large portion of the tournament entry fee paid by each league prior to the start of the postseason is earmarked for travel cost reimbursement.
“The expenses associated with travel have increased greatly in recent years,” Mr. Wilson, who is responsible for coordinating air travel and other related arrangements for the World Series Tournaments, said. “To accommodate and maintain the standard of tournament play our organization has established over the years, it is incumbent upon us to make sound financial decisions that in the long-term will allow the Little League program to stay at the forefront of youth sports. Asking leagues to pay more to play tournament is a reflection of the cost of moving forward with the objective being a positive and memorable experience for all players, coaches and local league officials.”
Annually, each local league taking part in tournament play submits a travel reimbursement request which quantifies how many miles each team in the local league traveled to and from each tournament location above the district level. Little League International in turn applies that total toward the league’s charter fees for the following season. It costs a local league $16 per team to participate in the Little League program regardless of a league’s size, location or affluence.
The dates and procedure for registering for tournament participation remains unchanged from past years. More information on participation in the Little League International Tournament is available here: http://www.littleleague.org/learn/Start_Find_a_League/benefitsofaffiliation.htm