Giving Back to Local Leagues
Earlier in 2015, Little League unveiled its Grow the Game Initiatives, including lowering the fee for local programs to affiliate with Little League from $16 per team to $10 per team. This was part of a larger $4 million initiative to assist local league operations and provide more quality Little League opportunities in communities around the world. Also included in this initiative was a robust grant program and increased support related to tournaments.
By lowering the charter or affiliation fee, leagues have more opportunities to charter additional teams in all divisions of baseball, softball, and the Challenger Division, and therefore allow more children the opportunity to play.
While increasing the tournament fee allows Little League to maintain its current level of support for those leagues who choose to participate in the Little League International Tournament.
The Little League Tournament
Countless individuals have had the opportunity to make friends and learn life lessons on Little League fields, and for nearly 70 years, the Little League Tournament has been a part of that experience, and it’s not just the road to Williamsport. With baseball and softball tournaments at the 9/10-year-old, 10/11-year-old, Little League, Intermediate (50/70) Baseball, Junior League, Senior League, and Big League levels that culminate in nine World Series, boys and girls compete on baseball and softball fields around the world from June through August.
To enter these tournaments, beginning at the district level, each league pays an entry fee for their tournament team. That fee goes directly into a fund that Little League International only uses to provide financial support to leagues for participation at the various levels of tournament play, starting at the sectional level. This support, dispersed from the restricted Tournament Travel Fund, includes mileage reimbursements for team travel, stipends for tournament hosts, and travel expenses (including airfare, hotels, meal-related expenses), and other costs related to the implementation of nine Little League World Series tournaments (four softball and five baseball), which together host nearly 100 teams each year.
No other youth baseball and softball organization in the world provides more support to its leagues than Little League International for tournament participation. Most other youth baseball and softball tournaments not only charge an entry fee per team, on average of around $500 and as much as $2,000, but also require teams to fund their own travel expenses. The only fee Little League International charges is the one-time, $200 enrollment fee.
The Increase Helps Local Teams and Leagues
As teams advance into the Sectional tournament after district play, leagues have the potential of having support from Little League International to help offset those costs. More importantly, the increase in the tournament fee will help support fellow Little Leaguers and their families around the world. It’s going to a fire fighter who is volunteering as an umpire at the Little League Softball® World Series. It’s going to help a team from Uganda travel to the United States to compete, improve, and bring that experience back to more children in their communities. It’s going to a group of volunteers in Mexico who are organizing a regional tournament. It’s going to a team from Montana that spent six hours one way driving to their state tournament.
More information about the Little League Tournament Entry Fee can be found on LittleLeague.org.