New player-focused women's softball league launches in Rosemont
A new, nationally televised women's softball league boasting some of the top athletes in the sport will launch at the end of this month in Rosemont.
First pitch of the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Softball league will be thrown Sunday, Aug. 30, at the Parkway Bank Sports Complex's 2,000-seat softball stadium. The five-week season will continue through Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The league of 56 players, including 20 Olympians, is a unique concept in professional sports. There won't be any permanent teams or coaches. Instead, players will be drafted onto four teams of 14 to start, while a constantly-changing, fantasy-inspired scoring system based on both team wins and individual performance will determine the best players.
The top four players on the leaderboard will get to draft new team rosters each week, and the player with the most individual points will be crowned champion in the end.
Because of the pandemic, no fans will be allowed in the stadium, but all 30 games will be televised: seven on CBS Sports Network and 23 on ESPN's platforms.
To prepare to host the games, the village installed $200,000 worth of new synthetic turf in the infield area -- of which the league is covering $135,000 of the cost. The stadium is home to the Chicago Bandits, whose season was canceled this summer.
Plans call for Athletes Unlimited to expand its concept to volleyball in 2021, with the possibility of adding other sports in the future.