MLB renews "Play Ball Summer" effort with the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Major League Baseball and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) today announced a renewal, through 2020, of the joint "PLAY BALL SUMMER" effort.

January 24th, 2018

Major League Baseball and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) today announced a renewal, through 2020, of the joint "PLAY BALL SUMMER" effort. Since 2015, hundreds of Mayors across the United States and Puerto Rico have hosted more than 60,000 kids at celebratory, youth baseball-themed events in their communities. In 2017, a record number of Mayors (250+) hosted a record number of children (35,000+) at PLAY BALL SUMMER events in nearly all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the official charity of Major League Baseball, will support MLB's renewed efforts with Mayors. Boys and Girls Clubs' nearly 1400 organizations, representing 4,300 local Clubs and more than 4 million youth, will participate in PLAY BALL SUMMER, and in some cases collaborate or co-host events with local mayors.

"We are proud to renew our partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which has been one of the most important and successful relationships for our sport these past three years," said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. "Our overall youth efforts are designed to foster stronger ties between baseball and young people. The Mayors commitment to the PLAY BALL SUMMER initiative throughout the United States and Puerto Rico has set a high benchmark for the number of children who have participated and we look forward to seeing those numbers grow."

"The United States Conference of Mayors is pleased to renew its partnership with Major League Baseball," said Tom Cochran, CEO & Executive Director, USCM. "PLAY BALL SUMMER has been a 'win-win' for everyone involved, including the mayors, Major League Baseball and, most importantly, our kids who are being exposed to one of America's favorite pastimes. This year, we are pleased that Boys & Girls Clubs of America will be supporting the mayors in their efforts."

"As the official charity of Major League Baseball, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is thrilled to work with local mayors and MLB to support the PLAY BALL SUMMER campaign," said Jim Clark, President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

PLAY BALL SUMMER events are designed to be community-based events that engage citizens, families, and city departments to participate. These events focus on connecting families and communities to baseball and softball through fun-focused activities (such as playing catch, "running bases," bat & ball games, and more). In addition to local Boys & Girls Clubs, Mayors will again look to work with both MLB and Minor League Baseball Clubs.

PLAY BALL SUMMER is part of the PLAY BALL initiative (PlayBall.org), which is baseball's collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, events and casual forms of play. PLAY BALL events have become Major League Baseball's signature youth engagement activity during the professional and amateur baseball and softball calendar, including key events throughout the MLB offseason, Regular Season, Postseason and the World Series. Along with flagship partners USA Baseball and USA Softball, Minor League Baseball, Little League International and MLB's Corporate Partners (Chevrolet, Scotts and Nathan's Famous) support the PLAY BALL initiative.

On May 18, 2017, MLB announced that baseball and softball combined to rank as the most participated team sports in the United States in 2016 (25 million participants), according to the annual Topline Participation Report produced by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). Overall baseball participation increased by 7.7 percent and slow-pitch softball participation increased by 8.1 percent in 2016, with casual participation in both baseball and slow-pitch softball showing the highest growth. In 2016, casual participation in baseball rose by 18.1 percent and slow-pitch softball increased by 12.4 percent. Casual participation in baseball and slow-pitch softball is up 34 percent over the last five years. When combined, baseball and softball (fast- and slow-pitch) have more casual participants than any other sport (10.25 million total casual participants).