Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion

American Legion reaffirms Shelby, N.C., as permanent World Series host

Shelby, N.C., became the permanent site of the American Legion World Series in 2011. And recently, The American Legion, Cleveland County ALWS Baseball Inc., and the City of Shelby reaffirmed their long-standing commitment to hosting the American Legion World Series in Shelby each August in perpetuity.

Terms of a contract addendum were finalized through The American Legion's National Executive Committee last month during the Legion's annual Legion Fall Meetings that call automatic renewal every five years in perpetuity, effectively making the partnership permanent.

Previously hosted on a rotating basis around the country, the American Legion World Series has blossomed since switching to a permanent site in 2011.

Ticket sales in Shelby have demolished ALWS records constantly. Fans have purchased over 119,000 tickets each of the last three events, almost doubling the previous all-time sales record of 60,000 set in 1936 and nearly 10 times as many sales as the last World Series played in the previous format. Ticket sales reached a record 128,157 in 2018.

In addition, the American Legion World Series has grown to a national audience due to the increase in television coverage, growing from no coverage prior to moving to Cleveland County to the addition of the championship game televised nationally on ESPNU in 2014.

Coverage has continued to grow subsequently, with the addition of the semifinals in 2015, Sunday pool play games in 2016 and Saturday pool play games in 2017. Every team that reaches the American Legion World Series is now guaranteed at least one nationally-televised game.

The American Legion World Series brings in about $15 million to the region, per a report from the Shelby Star.

“The American Legion World Series found a perfect home in Shelby, N.C.,” said Richard Anderson, chairman of The American Legion’s Americanism Commission. “Every year, I am amazed at the support, excitement and professionalism that the local committee in Cleveland County shows. We have seen such tremendous growth in the American Legion World Series these last eight years and I am excited to see more growth in the future.”

Local ALWS Board Chairman Eddie Holbrook, given negotiating power by the board’s members, met with American Legion officials during the Fall Meetings. In response to the announcement of the contract renewal, Holbrook said, “On behalf of our Executive Committee, the county, Shelby and supportive cities, as well as the many volunteers and supporters of the American Legion World Series, we are excited that the national office has seen fit to extend the contract in a manner that truly defines Shelby and Cleveland County as the official home of the American Legion World Series.

“We have worked together to form a wonderful team, and, with the generous financial support of many sponsors, we are excited that we have this opportunity. We look forward to working together with the national office as we strive for continued growth of the ALWS.”