Q. I’ve heard Coors is sponsoring a national softball tournament. Can you give me more specifics
A. Coors has teamed up with the Amateur Softball Association (known as ASA and USA Softball) to create the Coors Light Presents USA Softball World Series, the first comprehensive, nationwide, slow-pitch, amateur softball tournament.
Q. How do teams enter?
A. There are two ways for teams to enter the Coors Light Presents USA Softball World Series: 1) Most teams will take a shot at scoring a direct berth in one of the 32 local championship tournaments held across the country by completing and mailing in entry forms to ASA between April 1 and April 26. Entry forms will be available nationwide on special Coors Light softball displays at participating retailers in March and April; 2) Teams also can enter by playing in a Coors distributor-sponsored qualifying tournament to be played in more than 300 towns across the United States beginning in late April. Winners of the qualifying tournaments advance to the local championship round.
Q. When will games take place?
A. Games will be played beginning in late April and will continue through the finals in October. There are four tiers of competition. From April to June, many Coors distributors will be sponsoring local qualifying tournaments. Winners of those tournaments will advance to 32 local championship tournaments played in June and July in major cities. Those 32 winners advance to eight regional playoffs which will be played in August and September. The eight finalists will battle for the Coors Light Presents USA Softball World Series title in early October.
Q. Is it true there is prize money?
A. Yes. Winning teams of each local championship will receive $7,500. Regional playoff winning teams receive $20,000. The Coors Light Presents USA Softball World Series final winning team receives $100,000. Only winning teams receive prize money or, as they say, winner takes all. There is no prize money at the local qualifying level.
Q. What exactly is the ASA?
A. Based in Oklahoma City, Okla., ASA – Amateur Softball Association (also known as USA Softball) — is the nation’s leading, and largest, amateur softball association and the national governing body of the sport. Its staff and more than 100 local commissioners sanction, organize and manage softball tournaments in all 50 states. ASA has more than 250,000 member teams and more than 50,000 member umpires.
Q. Do you need to be an ASA member team to participate in the tournament?
A. Any team can take a shot at entering. But if your team is chosen, there is a $175 team registration fee, which includes membership in the ASA.
Q. As a team progresses through the World Series, who pays for its travel expenses?
A. Each team is responsible for all its expenses, including travel.
Q. Even to the finals?
A. Yes, teams must pay for their own expenses to get to the finals.
Q. Is this a Coors Light brand promotion?
A. Yes. The Coors Light Presents USA Softball World Series is Coors Brewing Company’s main or, as we say in the beer industry, “mega-promotion” for the spring season.
Q. It seems like quite a logistical undertaking.
A. Yes, it is. Most likely there will be close to 400,000 players taking the field in the Coors Light Presents USA Softball World Series in more than 300 cities.
Q. Why did Coors choose softball?
A. Softball is the No. 1 amateur participatory sport in the United States, with more than 40 million players. It is also a sport that demographically matches well with the marketing goals of Coors Brewing Company. Many softball players are beer drinkers.
Q. How much is Coors spending on this promotion?
A. Sorry, but for competitive reasons we don’t release promotional or advertising costs.
Q. This is a slow-pitch tournament?
A. Yes, men’s amateur Class C and D slow-pitch teams only.
Q. Are there any other player or team restrictions?
A. Yes. All team members must be legal U.S. residents and at least 21 years old by March 1, 1996. Each team is allowed a maximum of 18 members on its roster, including players, manager and coaches. All team members must be residents of the same state. Players cannot previously have participated on a class A or B team or played on teams that participated in A or B tournaments. As you can see, we want this to be a fair tournament and are trying to avoid entry or play by professionals, ringers or over-qualified teams.
Q. Last spring Coors had a round-the-world Concorde promotion. This year you’ve got a nationwide softball tournament. It seems you are developing some large and unusual promotions lately.
A. That’s true. We’re glad you noticed. Quite simply, Coors is dedicated to bringing consumers the most innovative and exciting promotions in the beer industry. Coors believes the Coors Light Presents USA Softball World Series will truly captivate and excite beer drinkers and sports fans. It will be exciting, and it will be fun.
Q. Why did you hook up with the ASA?
A. It’s simple. They are the sanctioning body of the sport.
Q. Then ASA manages the tournaments and games for you?
A. Yes. Through their staff, local commissioners and umpires, ASA manages the games and World Series. They run the events, Coors is the sponsor.
Q. What was the cost of your sponsorship with ASA?
A. Sorry, but Coors does not reveal its sponsorship or promotional costs.
Q. What marketing support will you be providing this promotion?
A. Coors will support the promotion with a complete line of exciting point-of-sale material, as well as radio advertising.
Q. I’ve also heard there is a special bottle to support the promotion?
A. Yes. To celebrate softball and its millions of players, as well as baseball in general, Coors is introducing the beer industry’s first bat-shaped bottle. The bat bottle is sure to hit a home-run with consumers and softball/baseball enthusiasts. The 18-ounce bottles, available in Coors Light and Original Coors, will hit retailers’ shelves nationwide in mid-March (not available in Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama).
Q. Will there be TV advertising for the promotion or the bottle?
A. No, advertising will consist of radio only.
Q. Are there any cross-promotional offers or consumer tie-ins?
A. We will offer consumers, through our softball POS, the opportunity to purchase name brand softball equipment at very attractive prices. Items available include: Wilson softball glove; H&B; Louisville Slugger softball bat; H&B; batting gloves; Dudley softball; and Killer Loop sunglasses.
Q. Besides ASA, are there other companies working with you on this promotion?
A. Yes. Advantage International, a Connecticut-based marketing firm, is helping us manage the promotion. The Integer Group of Golden, Colo., designed the POS materials.
Q. If consumers want more information, especially on how to enter, what should they do?
A. For information on how to enter, consumers can call our toll-free softball hotline: 1-800-TO-COORS. But basically, consumers will need to obtain an entry form at a Coors Light softball display at participating retailers in late March or April, and mail their entry form to ASA between April 1 and April 26. Teams that don’t want to take a chance at entering the tournament through the mail, must enter via a Coors distributor-sponsored local qualifying tournament. Not all distributors are sponsoring tournaments.
Q. How will teams know if they have been selected for a spot in the local championship round?
A. The ASA will notify selected teams by mail on or about May 1. Others will be notified and placed on a waiting list.
Q. Will teams who mailed in entry forms be picked on a random basis in a drawing by ASA?
A. No. As clearly stated on the entry form, teams will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the order in which ASA receives their entry and request for registration form. Only entries post marked April 1 – April 26 will be considered.
Q. If your team is chosen, what then?
A. Your team manager will be notified and you will receive an official registration form which must be promptly returned with a registration fee of $175.
1996 Coors Light USA Softball World Series
Regional Playoff Schedule
|9:00am||Air Force Academy Flyers (USAF , CO) vs. Omaha Frame (Omaha, NE)|
|10:30am||J.T. Zook’s (Phoenix, AZ) vs. N.U.T.S.(Ogden, UT)|
August 17, 1996; Portland, Oregon; Portland Civic Center
|11:00am||Stratford Homes (Couer d’Alene, ID) vs. Chateau Realty (McMinnville, OR)|
|12:30pm||Smog Stop (Sacramento, CA) vs. Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)|
August 24, 1996; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Three Rivers Stadium
|11:00am||B&L Painting (Mt. Airy, MD) vs. E-Jay’s/Bulls (Charleston, SC)|
|1:00pm||ZoZo’s Softball (Pittsburgh, PA) vs. Fuddrucker’s (Richmond, VA)|
September 14, 1996; Trenton, New Jersey; Mercer County Waterfront Park
|11:00am||Astoria (Woburn, MA) vs. Frenchy’s Bar & Grill (Roselle Park, NJ)|
|1:00pm||Jerry’s Softball (Wilkes-Barre, PA) vs. Investor’s Assoc. (Long Island, NY)|
September 14, 1996; LaJolla, California, Triton Stadium
|11:00am||A-1 National Fence (Fresno, CA) vs. Sansone/TCS (Las Vegas, NV)|
|12:30pm||Ruffnecks (Los Angeles, CA) vs. Balls Out (San Diego, CA)|
September 21, 1996; Knoxville, Tennessee; Bill Meyer Stadium
|11:00am||Kastaway’s (Marietta, GA) vs. Gremmels (Birmingham, AL)|
|12:30pm||Paradise Christian (Miami, FL) vs. Extra Innings (Baton Rouge, LA)|
September 21, 1996; Louisville, Kentucky; Cardinal Stadium
|11:00am||Iron Horse Liquor (Owensboro, KY) vs. Mullinax Ford (Canton, OH)|
|1:00pm||Oak Ridge Lndscpng (Ft Wayne, IN) vs. Granger’s (Milwaukee, WI)|
September 21, 1996; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Driller Stadium
|11:00am||Braves (Ft Worth, TX) vs. Pending|
|12:30pm||Oilfield Pipe (Bartlesville, OK) vs. Hustlers (Austin, TX)|
It’s paradise on earth for the winner of the 1996 Coors Light.
After seven long months of competition, the first-ever Coors Light USA Softball World Series Champion has been crowned.
Paradise Christian School of Hialeah, FL emerged from a field of over 2,000 men’s C & D slow pitch teams from around the country that began the qualifying process for the event last April.
Teams qualified at local championships and then advanced through regional play picking up combined cash prizes totaling $400,000 along the way.
Eight teams ultimately advanced to Melbourne, FL with a shot at playing in the first ever Coors Light USA Softball World Series October 12. Along with the title, a grand prize of $100,000 was also awarded to the winner.
The eight quarterfinalists for the title included J.T. Zooks of Phoenix, AZ; Chateau Realty of McMinnville, OR; ZoZo’s Softball of Pittsburgh, PA; Astoria of Woburn, MA; Ruffnecks of Los Angeles, CA; Mullinax Ford of Canton, OH; Hustlers of Austin, TX; and Paradise Christian School of Hialeah, FL.
In the first day of competition, the field of eight was cut in half as Chateau Realty beat J.T. Zooks 24-7, Astoria beat ZoZo’s Softball 16-6, Paradise Christian beat the Ruffnecks 15-10 and Mullinax Ford blanked the Hustlers 13-0.
In the semifinals, Chateau Realty met Astoria to decide who would be the first team to reach the finals. Chateau Realty jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the second inning before Astoria responded with eight runs in the bottom half of the inning, highlighted by a 375ft. blast over the right center field fence by Jim Duran.
Astoria posted four more runs in the bottom of the third with a two-run triple by Dick Queen and a two-run inside-the-park home run by Scott Queen. After erupting for five runs in the second inning, Astoria held Chateau Realty scoreless and advanced to the finals with 15-5 win.
In the night cap semifinal, Paradise Christian faced Mullinax Ford for the remaining spot in the finals. Paradise took the early lead in the top of the first, scoring five runs and holding Mullinax scoreless in the bottom of the inning.
In the third, Paradise erupted for 11 runs after stringing together seven straight run scoring singles. Mullinax responded in the bottom of the third posting six runs, including a three-run home run by Rick Mast but still trailed 17-9. Paradise shut the door on Mullinax in the sixth by scoring 10 runs to take a 30-17 win. Joseph Someillan led the Paradise attack in the sixth with two triples.
In the finals, in front of an estimated crowd of over 2,000, Paradise looked solid from the beginning posting two runs in the top of the first and four in the second to take a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the second.
Astoria responded with three runs in the bottom of the second to cut the lead in half. Both teams were scoreless in the third but Paradise struck for four more runs in the fourth to stretch their lead to 10-3.
Astoria managed only one run in the bottom of the fourth and was shutout in the final two innings. Paradise scored seven more runs to ensure their 17-4 victory.
“You could say somebody above was responsible for this,” acting coach Juan Stefano said. “Astoria comes in averaging more than 20 runs a game and they only get four runs. How can you explain that?”
Most teams would celebrate because they had just put $100,000 in their pockets but the Paradise team donated the money they had won during the tournament (a total of $127,000) to the Paradise Christian School. The school, which is located in Hialeah, FL, is for under privileged kids.
William Springer, who is the head master of the school and also team manager, was unable to attend the series because of an illness. The team mutually decided that the gift would be the best way to thank him for his support.
“This is very satisfying,” Paradise pitcher Charlie Graham said. “We play softball because we love it and have fun. But we wouldn’t be here without Springer, and this was a way of paying him back.”
Paradise didn’t leave empty handed as each team member received a trophy and a Coors Light USA Softball World Series leather jacket.
Ray Glisson of Paradise Christian was named the MVP of the World Series and was awarded a color TV and VCR, which he also donated to Paradise Christian School. During the series, Glisson went 8-11 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
Runner-up Astoria also took home individual trophies and jackets as a consolation award.
After the success of the Coors Light USA Softball World Series in 1996, the program is expected to explode in an expanded version throughout the United States in 1997.
The finals of the World Series will be aired on ESPN on a tape-delay basis on Friday November 8 and on Friday, November 15 on ESPN2.
“From the concept stage forward we have been very excited about the potential of this great event. Now, after a full year of competition, we are especially excited to see how it has been received by the players. This program has the potential to become one of the biggest, most dynamic events to ever be a part of slow pitch softball. It’s something the players wanted and USA Softball is proud to be a partner with Coors Brewing Company in making it happen,” said Don E. Porter, ASA executive director.
|Chateu Realty (McMinnville, OR)||0||1||9||3||0||1||10||24||20||0|
|J.T. Zooks (Phoenix, AZ)||0||3||3||0||0||1||0||7||14||8|
|ZoZo’s Softball (Pittsburgh, PA)||2||1||3||0||0||0||6||11||2|
|Astoria (Woburn, MA)||3||0||2||7||3||1||16||23||2|
|Ruffnecks (Los Angeles, CA)||7||0||0||1||2||0||0||10||15||0|
|Paradise Christian (Hialeah, FL)||0||0||0||5||7||3||x||15||17||1|
|Mullinax Ford (Canton, OH)||0||1||9||3||0||1||10||13||13||0|
|Hustlers (Austin, TX)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1|
Line Scores (Semi-Finals)
|Chateu Realty (McMinnville, OR)||0||5||0||0||0||5||10||0|
|Astoria (Woburn, MA)||0||8||4||1||2||15||17||1|
|Paradise Christian (Hialeah, FL)||5||1||11||0||3||10||30||31||3|
|Mullinax Ford (Canton, OH)||0||3||6||8||0||0||17||18||4|
|Paradise Christian (Hialeah, FL)||2||4||0||4||3||4||17||18||1|
|Astoria (Woburn, MA)||0||3||0||1||0||0||4||10||3|
— MVP —
Left-Center/Catcher, Miami, Florida
.727 batting average (8-11)
7 runs scored
2 over-the-fence home runs