KOKOMO, Ind. - For most big league ball players their prospect debuts begin or continue in summer wood bat leagues across the nation. With 50 different summer collegiate leagues all around the US and Canada it’s a big business and a major driver towards the scouting and development of future MLB stars. Of the 50 plus leagues, only a select few drive the bulk of the collegiate prospects. Towards the top of that list is a league named the Prospect League, the league that will be coming to the great city of Kokomo.
MKE Sports & Entertainment, a sports and entertainment company, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is excited to announce that baseball will return to the “City of Firsts”, for the first time in 54 years. Under the deal, MKE Sports & Entertainment will bring and operate an expansion team playing in the Prospect League beginning in the summer of 2015. In addition, the Prospect League is looking into moving it’s corporate headquarters to Kokomo in an effort to grow and improve the league.
“I believe Kokomo will be one of the premier franchises in all of summer collegiate ball,” said Prospect League Founder and Chillicothe Paints owner Chris Hanners. “The city is a perfect spot for a franchise and we see it as the showcase for our league going forward. Given the partnership between the city of Kokomo and MKE Sports & Entertainment we have ambitious goals for the Prospect League and this transaction positions the league to make great strides.”
City of Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight stated, "This is a proud day for the city and the residents of Kokomo. We are bringing baseball back to this city and doing so with terrific partners. We interviewed a number of potential organizations and chose Mike's group because of his track record as a successful entrepreneur and his work with a like city to help transform a city through sports and entertainment related venues. Since we see the stadium as a catalyst for continued economic development for our city it was a perfect fit. Mike has a vision that goes beyond just baseball and we are excited about all that can be done.”
Michael Zimmerman, Founder and CEO of MKE Sports & Entertainment stated, "I have been all over the Midwest in the past six months looking for the right opportunity for baseball. After spending the day with Mayor Goodnight and city staff, as well as attending a local youth baseball game, I was hooked on Kokomo. The energy of the community with their love for sports and the revitalization project currently underway downtown is the perfect storm…. it’s a real recipe for success. I am truly humbled and grateful that the city has chosen my group to represent the great city of Kokomo."
The new team will compete in the Prospect League and will play all of its home games at the new 4,000-capicity Kokomo Municipal Stadium located south of Wildcat Creek between Union Street & Apperson Way. This is the first new baseball stadium in Kokomo, since Highland Park Stadium was built in 1955. That stadium was once home of the Kokomo Dodgers (1956-1961), a minor league affiliate of the former Brooklyn Dodgers. Construction on Kokomo Municipal Stadium is already underway and is expected to open in the spring of 2015.
MKE Sports & Entertainment has also launched a contest to seek community input for the team nickname. Fans can visit www.KokomoBaseball.com to submit their team name for a chance to win a $2,500 cash prize. The team name, colors and logo will be unveiled at a special event; exact date and location will be announced. Season tickets can be reserved on a first come, first serve basis by submitting a $100 deposit online as well.