Major League Baseball has been unveiled as the official presenting sponsor of the United States’ women’s softball team’s upcoming training tour ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The “Stand Beside Her” tour will travel to more than 35 cities across the US from February to June and will include training and exhibition appearances from members of the team.
MLB will work with USA Softball in selected cities to host “Play Ball” events to promote the league’s youth engagement activity. USA Softball is a flagship partner of the initiative.
As part of the deal, the MLB logo will feature on Team USA’s uniform tops during the tour. MLB’s iconic silhouetted batter will also appear on various signage.
The MLB-operated Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida, which serves as a hub for youth and amateur baseball/softball programming, will serve as the official training facility of the US national softball team.
MLB Network will also promote the tour, with the “Play Ball” show airing on Saturday mornings. The tour will also have a presence on MLB.com, PlayBall.org and on social media platforms.
USA Softball chief executive Craig Cress said: “We’ve had a strong relationship with MLB since 2015 when we joined the ‘Play Ball’ initiative, and their commitment shown not only to our women’s national team athletes, but also for grassroots development, is simply unmatched.
“The partnership and support of MLB provides members of the 2020 women’s national team with access to support staff and resources they need to stand atop the podium and bring the gold back to the United States,” he said.
Softball and baseball will be returning to the Olympic program in Tokyo following a 12-year absence, with the two sports not contested at London 2012 and Rio 2016.