EL1 Sports, The Alliance Fastpitch Partner On Programming, Facilities
With a shared goal of the growth of fastpitch, EL1 Sports and The Alliance Fastpitch announced a long-term partnership focused on softball from the youth through the collegiate levels.
EL1 Sports, a national youth sports training company, and The Alliance Fastpitch, a national league system for amateur fastpitch teams, have joined together to develop training facilities, instructional curriculum and programming.
"Although the fanbase and interest in softball has grown in recent years, the game has lacked the same investments in facilities, training and infrastructure afforded to other sports," says Griff Long, EL1 Sports CEO. "We are working together with The Alliance to flip that script and create greater unity and more valuable training and playing opportunities for softball players."
The primary focus of the agreement is on the creation of new "licensed facilities" around the country. Dubbed as state-of-the-art indoor softball training centers, the companies say the centers will operate partly or wholly under The Alliance brand and be operated by EL1. The Alliance and EL1 will also craft a platform that supports the professional development of former and current fastpitch players with careers in instruction, facility management, business development and general corporate careers.
Also, as part of the announced agreement, EL1 will become the official youth softball training facility partner of The Alliance Fastpitch.
The jointly developed facilities have similarities to existing operations led by EL1 and The Alliance, but plan to combine the company's expertise in softball with instructional curriculum. Already, EL1 has the Powered By product to support teams in the integration of technology into training and programming.
"The Alliance was formed out of a need for more cohesiveness in youth softball," says Jami Lobpries, The Alliance CEO. "Almost all of the tournament providers and softball organizations around the country operate independently and lack the ability to pool their buying power for services or to coordinate their seasons for national tournaments and championships. The founding partners of The Alliance thought it was more beneficial for the sport if we worked together, and now we are joining forces with EL1 to better serve our fastpitch community by creating new and improved common solutions to establishing training facilities, instructional curricula and professional networking opportunities. It's the perfect match of two organizations focused on the athlete."
The two entities already have existing training centers, with The Alliance operating five centers, including Batbusters' Sports Training Complex in Anaheim, Calif., and the Bombers' Performance Lab in San Marcos, Texas. EL1 operates 14 existing facilities, including the EL1 Sports facility in Woodinville, Wash., and the Dodgers Training Academy in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Co-founded in 2010 by former Seattle Mariners prospect Aaron Trolia and former collegiate football player Jameel Cante, EL1 has had a bold 2022. In March, EL1 entered a partnership with Major League Baseball to become its youth baseball and softball training partner with the goal of expanding access to underserved populations and communities while growing fan interest by increasing sport participation. EL1 also acquired Quickball in July, the fast-paced baseball and softball sport and instructional program. EL1 acquired five more baseball and softball facilities in the Philadelphia and Detroit metro areas.
The Alliance launched in August 2020 and now operates eight member leagues and has executed two full seasons of competitive play culminating with the Alliance Fastpitch Championship Series. The goal of The Alliance is to "drive athlete-centric programming and development-based resources that raise the standard" for the sport.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Softball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.