Release Date: February 12,2021
Akron RubberDucks Accept Invitation to Remain Indians’ Double-A Affiliate
Franchise Agrees to Player Development License, Continuing Long-Standing Professional Relationship with the Cleveland Indians
(AKRON, OHIO) February 12, 2021 – The Akron RubberDucks have officially accepted their invitation to remain the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians after signing Major League Baseball’s Professional Development License (PDL). This 10-year agreement firmly anchors the RubberDucks to the city of Akron and Northeast Ohio and continues their 32-year affiliation with the Cleveland Indians, dating back to 1989.
“We are so proud to continue our long-standing professional relationship with the Cleveland Indians by accepting their invitation to remain the Double-A affiliate,” said Akron RubberDucks owner & CEO, Ken Babby. “As we enter a new era of Minor League Baseball across the country, we are so excited to assure our loyal fans that RubberDucks baseball in the Rubber City is here to stay.”
The Cleveland Indians officially extended their invitation to the Akron RubberDucks in December to remain the Double-A affiliate under the new Professional Development License structure, under which all affiliation agreements between MLB and MiLB clubs would be ten years in length. This new system is a result of Major League Baseball restructuring Minor League Baseball following the September 2020 expiration of the Professional Baseball Agreement that governed the two entities’ relationship for over a century.
Under the previous Professional Baseball Agreement, affiliation agreements between Major League Baseball clubs and Minor League baseball clubs were only two or four years in length. This new agreement between the Indians and the RubberDucks is a decade-long pact that assures an enduring partnership for both organizations. Following the realignment of the Minor League Baseball landscape, each MLB parent club will include four teams in their farm systems, totaling 120 teams across four leagues in the minors.
The Akron minor league affiliate has been a part of the Cleveland Indians family since 1989 as the Canton-Akron Indians (1989-1996), the Akron Aeros (1997-2013), and the Akron RubberDucks (2014-present). In 1997, the franchise opened Canal Park in the heart of downtown Akron, which has played host to 23 seasons in Minor League Baseball, annual high school and college showcase games, and numerous special events for the Greater Akron community.
The city of Akron has always loved the RubberDucks and the Cleveland Indians, being named in Sports Business Journal’s 2019 biennial survey as one of the ten best markets in the country to enjoy minor league sports. Sports Business Journal praised Akron and the RubberDucks so highly because of the mutual efforts to maintain the team’s presence in the market, strong commitment to maintaining one of the best ballparks in Double-A, and the consistently rising attendance figures over the past decade.
“We pride ourselves on providing the best affordable, family entertainment to our Greater Akron community,” said Akron RubberDucks GM, Jim Pfander. “Although we missed out on a 2020 RubberDucks season, we can’t wait to safely welcome our amazing fans back into Canal Park this summer for the long-awaited arrival of baseball in 2021.
Major League Baseball is expected to release 2021 schedules for all 120 minor league affiliates in the coming days, and ticket plans for this summer at Canal Park are available by calling 330-253-5151.
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 330-253-5151 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, or visit www.akronrubberducks.com. For more information about the team, please call 330-253-5151, visit the website at akronrubberducks.com, Facebook page facebook.com/AkronRubberDucks, or on Twitter at @AkronRubberDuck, and Instagram at @akronrubberducks.