The road to the 2011 Gay Softball World Series in Chicagowhich actually will be held in the suburbsofficially kicks off Friday night, Jan. 8, 2010, with the first of what will be many fundraising parties for the event.
The inaugural party will be held at Spin Nightclub, 800 W. Belmont.
The Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) , which will be hosting the 2011 Series, has an eight-person World Series board of directors, led by Jack Neilsen, who has played in numerous past series.
The CMSA must raise $160,000 to cover use of the fields; opening and closing ceremonies; transportation; and more.
The 2011 Gay Softball World Series will have men and women participating. More than 200 teams and 4,000 participants are expected from across the United States and Canada.
The Amateur Sports Alliance of North American ( ASANA ) holds a separate, annual all-women's softball world seriesand CMSA officials did not bid to also host the 2011 event.
"When you have a budget of about $160,000 to cover, you need to plan as far out as possible," Neilsen said.
The 2011 event, running Aug. 31-Sept. 3, will be played at multiple-field complexes in the suburbs of St. Charles, Elmhurst and Schaumburg.
"Hosting the World Series is a huge undertaking," Neilsen said. "We just want it to be right when it comes back to Chicago. We want the city to be showcased; we want everyone to have a great time; we want it to be a Series that everyone remembers."
Chicago has played host to the annual Gay Softball World Series only once, in 1983, since it was first held in 1977. Chicago has had only five championship teams in series history, including the 2009 Spin Cougars ( B Division ) .
"I want to see an opening ceremony where everyone has a great time, with great entertainment. That's key," Neilsen said.
Opening ceremonies will be Monday night, Aug. 29, 2011.
Chicago will have two teams in B, C and D divisions, and an unlimited number of A-Division teams; along with one extra team ( from any division ) since it is the host city. Next year, the CMSA will have its first A-Division team in at least three years, Neilsen confirmed. Cameron Turner will run the A-Division team.
"It may only be a few teams from Chicago participating, but everyone will see [ participating ] players all around town. The event is a huge financial benefit to the city," Neilsen said. "I want everyone to have an amazing experience here in Chicago."
CMSA's World Series Board meets every month, and includes Doug Malm, Brian Redar, Aaron Brost, Aaron Feeney, Nathan Jenks, Brian Harder and Frank Kisner.