To Banana Ball Fans, Family and Friends,
As we finish 2023, we are filled with gratitude for you, the fans.
Our team knows that our success is directly related to those of you taking the time to read this letter, to your kids, to your grandkids, to your friends and colleagues, to your teammates of yesterday and to your coaches of today, all of whom believe in our sport of Banana Ball and the fun and joy we hope to bring to the ballpark every single day.
This past year we were able to do what many said we could not, and we owe it all to you. On behalf of our team here with the Savannah Bananas and Fans First entertainment, I want to thank you for your support by sharing a brief recap of the 2023 tour and giving you a glimpse of what’s in store for you and all our amazing fans in 2024.
2023 was truly incredible as we were able to take our game of Banana Ball from coast to coast, to 33 cities and to over a half million fans.
When we launched the Bananas in 2016, we never imagined this would be our path. From Day 1, we solely made it our goal to be Fans First and to Entertain Always. We imagined a better fan experience, one filled with non-stop entertainment and enjoyment for fans of all ages.
After years of playing traditional baseball, we knew there was an opportunity to provide a better experience for both fans and players.
We believed we could create a faster, more exciting game with new rules that would keep fans engaged for the entire game. Thus, Banana Ball was born, and we played our first game outside of Savannah in 2021, in Mobile, AL. The response was overwhelming and gave us the confidence to go All-in on Banana Ball.
The grand experiment of Banana Ball reached a whole new level this past year as we played 86 games in 33 ballparks and traveled to 20 states. Your support helped make this tour truly magical, culminating with a historic final stop at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
You embraced the game, the show, and our players and cast at every stop on tour. You were there every step of the way and provided an electric atmosphere, with every game sold out, that is unmatched in sports at any level.
Your support helped our players perform at the highest level. The battle between the Bananas and Party Animals couldn’t have been more exciting, with the Party Animals completing the most improbable comeback, to win nine straight and take the tour series on the final game in Cooperstown.
Amidst the back-and-forth competition, both teams completed over 600 trick plays on tour. The teams also completed the most games in under two hours in Banana Ball history, had the most walk-offs, the most two-minute innings and the most electric showdown finishes.
Top it all off, with you, the fans raising your game by catching 61 foul balls for outs on tour including a 15-year-old, catching the game winner in Kannapolis.
Through this lengthy tour, we saw what can be with Banana Ball, and the future is bright.
What’s in Store for 2024
We know we have a responsibility to bring Banana Ball to more fans in the years to come.
In 2024, we will play in front of one million fans, more than doubling our total in 2023. We will test six MLB stadiums to bring the game to some of the largest and most iconic ballparks in the world.
We also announced our third team, the Firefighters at the World Tour Draft, a team which will debut this summer. This is another experiment for the game of Banana Ball. With the number of talented and entertaining players reaching out to us, we know we can continue to improve the level of play and bring in more great Banana Ballers who are fans first.
We are also introducing new rules like the Golden Batter rule where now the best hitter can come up again with the game on the line in the 9th inning. Everything we do is with the goal of making the game more exciting, more fun and more enjoyable for the fans.
Just like last year when we introduced the Fan Challenge Rule, in the middle of the tour, to allow fans to challenge a call on the field, we are not content with the way things have been in the past. If we believe it will make the game better and the fan experience better, we will try it.
Everything starts with ideas. Ideas drive everything and have become the secret sauce of our organization. We invest more time on idea generation than anyone in the sports industry. From our players to our cast, to our creative team, to each department within our organization, we are dedicating time to come up with new things that fans have never seen at a ballpark that we believe will improve the fan experience.
We will never stop testing and experimenting. Some tests will not work. But we will never stop “plussing” the show and the game of Banana Ball.
We will continue to think big and swing hard. As a fan, expect to see some big swings in the upcoming years.
One Billion Fans
We remain on a quest to create one billion fans. We will play the long game to get there and will always look to create long term fans over short term profits.
Our focus remains on one game at a time, one show at a time, one experience at a time and most importantly, one fan at a time.
You are the reason why we do what we do. You are the reason why we love what we do.
You inspire us to continue to get better and dream bigger dreams for this game, and our teams.
For all your support and for allowing us to chase those dreams, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We are still in the first inning.
We believe the best is yet to come, so Party On and Keep Going Bananas!
Emily & Jesse Cole
& All Of Us From Banana Ball HQ