Finland targets 10x baseball-softball growth by 2025

Finland targets 10x baseball-softball growth by 2025
07/05/2021
Finnish Baseball and Softball Federation President Jukka Ropponen wants to increase the number of registered players by 100% by the end of 2021 and by 1,000% by the end of 2025.

The development plan recently revealed by the Finnish Baseball and Softball Federation (SBSL, Suomen Baseball ja Softball Liitto) has attracted interest from local media outlets.

According to a SBSL press release, the plan is to increase the number of registered baseball and softball players by 100% by the end of 2021 and by 1,000 % over the next five years.

"We have a very positive drive starting in Finland right now," said SBSL President Jukka Ropponen. "Once we do things the right way, we should be able to reach those ambitious growth targets, provided we also get the needed facilities where to play and run our programmes."

A "One Federation, One Strategy, Three Sports" approach under the Finnish Pesäpallo Federation umbrella, includes baseball, softball and pesäpallo, which is Finland's summer national sport.

Pesäpallo is another bat and ball game, and the federation has as many as 18,000 registered players. Pesäpallo clubs are now planning to add baseball and softball programmes.

As the beginning of the 2021 season approaches, SBSL has received financial help from the Ministry of Education and the Finnish Olympic Committee. The funds will be used to launch another baseball league, their Division III, which will allow for a wider net to attract and retain players.

SBSL is also funding youth programmes in four clubs and a new Women's Softball National Team programme.

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