Athletes Unlimited announced Monday that Kim Ng – a trailblazing executive who most recently became the first woman to serve as General Manager of a major American men’s professional sports team – has joined the organization as a Senior Advisor, focusing on the new Athletes Unlimited Softball League (AUSL).

Working closely with CEO Jon Patricof, Senior Vice President and Director of Softball Cheri Kempf and the rest of the Athletes Unlimited leadership team, Ng will leverage her decades of experience in professional baseball to oversee the development of the AUSL as it prepares for its launch in the spring of 2025.

Ng, who played college softball for the University of Chicago, returns to her softball roots following more than three decades in professional baseball, where she most recently was General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Under Ng’s leadership, the 2023 Marlins posted the fourth best winning percentage in the history of the franchise and earned the Marlins’ first full-season postseason berth in 20 years.

As a baseball executive with the Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Yankees, Ng was an integral contributor to those clubs’ nine postseason appearances, including six League Championship series and three World Championships. She was the Assistant General Manager for the 1998-2001 Yankees, where at the time she was the youngest person appointed to the position, and then worked as AGM of the Dodgers for 9 years.

As Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball, Ng worked to grow the game in countries around the world and helped to advance the World Baseball Classic. It was during her time in MLB’s Baseball and Softball Development department that Ng served as MLB’s representative on the board of USA Softball, and worked with key former and current Team USA softball players to grow the sport at the grassroots level.

Ng grew up in and around New York City. She graduated from the University of Chicago, where she played softball for four years and earned a degree in Public Policy.

Formally announced on June 4, the AUSL is set to begin with four teams playing a 30-game season (60 total games) in a traditional format, complementing the existing AU Pro Softball Championship Season and creating a new opportunity for the world’s best players to compete. ESPN has signed on as a founding broadcast partner of the AUSL, and will carry at least 18 games exclusively on its linear platforms (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) in 2025. Softball legends Jessica Mendoza, Cat Osterman and Natasha Watley are advisors to the AUSL, and will consult with Ng, AU leadership and current athletes on the strategic direction of the new league.

The AUSL will become a city-based league beginning in 2026, while the inaugural season in 2025 will be a touring property featuring games in 6-8 different cities. The existing AU Pro Softball Championship Season will follow the conclusion of the AUSL season and will be renamed the AUSL Champions Cup beginning in 2025, while continuing to use AU’s innovative scoring model to crown an individual champion. Further details about the AUSL, including locations, competitors, schedule and additional broadcast partners will be announced at a later date.

Athletes Unlimited launched in 2020 with its first AU Pro Softball Championship Season later adding pro women’s lacrosse, volleyball and basketball leagues as well as AU Pro Softball AUX, an additional two-week softball season. The AUSL marks the latest expansion of Athletes Unlimited’s presence in softball.

“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,” said Ng. “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.”

“Kim’s groundbreaking accolades are truly unparalleled, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the softball world and have her lead our team as we launch the AUSL,” said Patricof. “Her experience at the highest levels of professional sports will be critical as we develop every aspect of this new league. Cheri and I have been seeking a leader to launch the AUSL and Kim has been at the top of the list of candidates since day one.”

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