Old North State League welcomes two new teams

by Ashton Confer

RAMSEUR, NORTH CAROLINA - The Old North State League is excited to welcome the Burlington Baseball Club and the Danville Baseball Club, both owned and operated by Knuckleball Entertainment. Each club will participate as a part-time member in the ONSL in 2024 and will then transition to a full-time member in 2025 and beyond. A reduced schedule of 24 games will be played this season, which will include 12 home games for both teams. 

The Burlington Baseball Club will play all of their games at Burlington Athletic Stadium, the former home of the Burlington Royals. The Danville Baseball Club will play all of their games at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Virginia. Their ballpark was the longtime home of the Danville Braves. 

"The ONSL is excited to announce the addition of Burlington Baseball Club and Danville Baseball Club to the league for the summer of 2024 and beyond,” said Old North State League Commissioner, Eric Sibrizzi. “Both Burlington and Danville have a super supportive fan base and we can't wait to see how they embrace the players and this organization!"

Knuckleball Entertainment also owns and operates the Burlington Sock Puppets and the Danville Otterbots. Each of these teams currently play in the Appalachian League, and are two of the best teams in the league from both a player and a fan experience standpoint. Knuckleball Entertainment is owned by Ryan Keur, one of the highest regarded sports entertainment minds in the country. Before Keur moved into ownership, he was an Appalachian League Executive of the year for the Burlington Royals three times. He then became the President of the Daytona Tortugas (Single-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds). In 2017, Keur was named the Baseball America and Ballpark Digest Minor League Executive of the Year.

Keur commented, “It’s been our mission from Day 1 to be actively engaged members of the community 365 days a year and continue to be great stewards of the respective ballparks.  Adding an additional 12 home games to go along with our 24 Appalachian League home games is a big win for our community and our fans.  We are appreciative of Alec Allred and the Old North State League for his partnership and collaboration to bring more baseball to our stadiums in both Burlington and Danville."

The Old North State League and The Players League have continued to see tremendous growth in attracting private ownership groups and professional operators. 

Alec Allred, the CEO of The Players League, described his excitement about the announcement. "Ryan and I have been talking for well over a year about partnering up in some capacity. Needless to say I am stoked! We each have matching philosophies on baseball entertainment. Both having played baseball at a high level, we have transferred our baseball knowledge into the sports entertainment industry, where I believe we have found success. The Old North State League and The Players League are gaining two teams that will be operated at the highest level from a player and fan experience. Both clubs will have many home weekend games, and if history repeats itself in reference to attendance at both ballparks, I have no doubt that there will be 1,500 - 2000 people each night watching Old North State League baseball in Burlington and Danville for years to come. Ryan is inarguably one of the best operators in all of Minor League Baseball, which has been proven through his awards and track record. We are all excited to have him as a part of what we are building in North Carolina and around the country."

The Old North State League is a college summer wood bat league in North Carolina that features 20 teams not including Burlington and Danville. In 2025, the league plans to expand to 24 teams and has been vetting markets and requests in anticipation of announcing the newest additions.