The summer-collegiate Northwoods League extended its C.O. Brown Stadium lease in Battle Creek and is looking at bringing a team to Kalamazoo’s Mayor’s Riverfront Park.
The lease for the Battle Creek Bombers has been extended for five more years. Establishing the team has been an uphill battle: it sits outside the league’s main footprint in Minnesota and Wisconsin (with single teams in Iowa and Ontario), presenting some travel challenges.
In the past few years attendance has been up, however, and with the independent Frontier League now out of Kalamazoo, there’s now the possibility of expanding league presence in Michigan. That should ease travel challenges and give the league an even better chance of further expansion in the region.
The summer-collegiate model is a pretty good one in terms of economic, especially for smaller communities that aren’t really capable of supporting minor-league ball. It’s a model that can scale: it works equally well in small towns like Willmar and Alexandria as it does in larger cities like Madison and Battle Creek. We’d expect further expansion of the league in coming years; it’s at 16 teams now, but 18 teams in 2013 and 20 in 2014 really isn’t out of the question.
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