Representatives for the Golden Baseball League, Northern League, and the United League announced Friday they have joined forces to create a new professional independent league that will be known as the North American League.
The league, which will include the Schaumburg Flyers and Lake County Fielders franchises, will have 16-20 teams and cover many of the major markets in the U.S. and Canada in 2011 with expansion already set for 2012.
The existing leagues will keep their names and their baseball operations structure while consolidating and enhancing a number of business activities and will adhere to a single and consistent set of league operating by-laws.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the teams of these three leagues", said Kevin Outcalt, chief executive of Diamond Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns and operates the Golden League and will administer the North American League. "This will provide more value to our marketing and business partners, more exposure for our players to advance their careers, and increased excitement and fun for the fans of all of our ballclubs."
The structure of the NAL will be set up with the three original leagues covering their respective regions where the teams will play approximately 75 percent of their games within their region and 25 percent outside their region/division. This will be followed by playoffs that will conclude with a North American Championship Series.
It is anticipated that the league will play a 92-100 game regular season schedule that will be determined at the inaugural NAL meetings that will be held in northern California at the end of November. The full slate of 2011 NAL teams and the makeup of each region will be announced following the league meeting.