Note to our fans and supporters:
My first point is that I wish the National Pro Fastpitch league success and I have mixed emotions about our decision to not launch The Colorado Altitude this year (it was our decision and I take responsibility for that decision, right or wrong.) I have strong emotions about it. I met some great owners and developed some friendships that I value. Some of the owners of other teams are people I admire very much. We'd like to consider launching The Altitude in 2005. We've continued to maintain the name and presence and have even made the name available to Kroenke Sports for their new sports cable TV network (The Altitude Sports and Entertainment Network). We are keeping our options open at this point.
Here's why we did what we did..... Our self-defined charter for buying the franchise was to use the team as a platform for our primary philanthropic objectives. We never took any other position. But, for various reasons as things progressed, it looked like the team/league was going to suck up a lot of money and time with uncertain results in relation to our objectives. In the end, I simply liked the risk/reward profile of focusing our efforts directly on the primary objective. If, by circumstances, a pro team for Denver is in the cards for the future via some other owner, we would be supportive of that effort. We would even be inclined to make our name and logo available to the right ownership group.
Women's professional softball has been on-again, off again since 1948+/-. The main impediment has never been fan interest or athlete competence since the sport has a good following and, as you know, some of the finest athletes on the planet are female softball players. The issue has almost always been finding a spot on the docket of sponsors, advertisers and broadcasters. In this day and age, the sport just has not been able to do that. I am not sure exactly why it is that way (I have my theories). It is my hope that those circumstances will change soon.
This is what we intend to do now:
In the meantime The Colorado Altitude will focus directly on our core/primary objectives. We'll be re-doubling our efforts on projects such as building more/better facilities for youth girl’s softball (there simply are not enough good SOFTBALL fields for the kids on the Colorado Front Range). Softball fields are not only good for the game but are a tremendous source of revenue for communities and institutions (colleges). Just ask the city of Aurora about the Sports Complex. We think this is a huge opportunity.
We'll also be taking a long look how we can channel some fundraising to specifically support underfinanced youth players. Title IX has been good for girls in general but what it has done is keep softball out of the middle schools. The girls are "forced" to play club ball if they want to play at all. Not that club ball is a bad thing, but some of the players simply cannot afford it. (It costs over $1,000 per player per year plus incidentals such as gas, travel and personal gear. As they get older, that cost goes up significantly as the clubs travel farther and enter higher profile tournaments).
There is also a shortage of umpires and tournament management personnel. Some organizations are working on this, of course. They do a good job, too. But our experience in youth ball with our daughters’ teams over the last few years has highlighted the shortage of qualified and trained umpires. We think that a more targeted effort will produce better results. For example, umpires make very little money per game. That limits the pool to those that are doing it for the enjoyment. That pool is not big enough to support the demand and tournaments must be scheduled around umpire availability. Although there are a lot of great umpires in the state, the supply/demand situation does little to improve the quality and quantity over the long haul. We’d like to fix that.
All that said, we have embellished and extended our Colorado Altitude tag line to be "Reach New Heights". Our goal is to help youth girls and young women reach new heights in their quest to become successful, healthy and productive adult women. We'll stay on that target and will use whatever methods we think will produce the best results.