Ex-Marlins general manager Kim Ng hired as senior advisor for Athletes Unlimited’s new softball league

Written by on July 1, 2024

Athletes Unlimited announced last month they are expanding to a traditional softball league (AUSL) beginning in 2025, and on Monday AU revealed trailblazing MLB executive Kim Ng will join the league as a senior advisor. Ng became the first woman general manager in MLB history when she joined the Miami Marlins in 2021. 

“I’m excited about this opportunity to be involved with Athletes Unlimited and the sport that I grew up playing, while helping to lead the AUSL as it prepares to launch,” Ng said. “Given its growth at the grassroots and collegiate levels in recent years, softball is poised for tremendous growth at the professional level, and I believe the AUSL is well positioned for success.”

Ng, who played college softball at the University of Chicago, will help Athletes Unlimited build on their success as they venture into a traditional model for softball for the first time since the launch of their five-week, single-site model in 2020. 

“We were looking for somebody who had the right mix of strategy and operational experience,” Athletes United CEO Jon Patricof told CBS Sports. “And you know, Kim is incredibly well regarded. She has deep experience. She has incredibly deep relationships with players.”

Athletes Unlimited has grown from one softball league in 2020 to two different softball models (AUX is a two-week model), as well as a volleyball, lacrosse and basketball league. AU has already inked a broadcast deal with ESPN. They will carry at least 18 games exclusively on its linear platforms (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) in 2025. In its first season, AUSL will take on a barnstorming model and play in six to eight cities before announcing the team markets ahead of the 2026 season. 

While Athletes Unlimited has only featured women’s sports to date, the company has always left the door open to other models, including other women’s sports of a men’s division in their existing four sports. However, in a discussion with CBS Sports, Patricof says the company, while always open to new opportunities, is more focused on executing their model to perfection. 

“We’re incredibly focused on growing and building our presence in the four sports that we’re in,” Patricof said. 

It will be curious to see if Athletes Unlimited any any one of its now three softball models will plant roots in Oklahoma City, especially with the announcement the International Olympic Committee approved a relocation of the 2028 Summer Olympic Softball Tournament to the Sooner State, pending approval from the City of Los Angeles. 

The softball tournament would be held at Devon Park, home of the annual Women’s College World Series. The 13,000-seat facility in Oklahoma City is favored over L.A, where no venue could accommodate more than 2,000 fans.

Patricof does expect Chicago and Witchita to remain part of the AU Softball ecosystem, but the other cities the league will tour to, and eventually call home, are up for grabs. 

The post Ex-Marlins general manager Kim Ng hired as senior advisor for Athletes Unlimited’s new softball league first appeared on CBS Sports.

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