You read that headline correctly, obscure, independent minor league baseball fans — the Savannah Bananas’ Banana Ball is coming to ESPN+.
ESPN+ will exclusively live stream two games from the 2022 Banana Ball World Tour on April 8 and 9, featuring the social media-famous Savannah Bananas as they launch the sport of Banana Ball across the South. The games begin at 7 p.m. ET on both April 8 and 9 in Savannah, Ga., with pregame festivities kicking off at 6:15 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
ESPN put out a press release revealing the news but the Bananas also made a “formal” announcement on their Twitter account:
So what exactly is Banana Ball? It’s a different take on traditional baseball, with additional rules that make for more fan engagement and overall fun. The rules include:
- No Bunting.
- Walks must be sprints.
- No mound visits.
- Hitters can’t step out of the batter’s box.
- Hitters can steal first base.
- If a fan catches a foul ball, it counts as an out.
- Each inning is a winner take all.
- The game has a two-hour time limit.
- Instead of extra innings, there will be an overtime one-on-one showdown.
Streaming platforms have figured out that live sports are a key driver of subscribers and retention, so it makes sense that ESPN would look to the niche corners of the sports world to populate their platform. Even though ESPN calls itself the “home of hockey,” they don’t play hockey year-round and will need something to air on ESPN+ during the summer months. Niche sports often attract some level of social media buzz, as sports fans tune in looking for traditional sports and find something new, like drone racing, cornhole, esports, and now Banana Ball.
Enter the Savannah Bananas. Since arriving in Savannah in 2016, the Bananas have received worldwide attention and have sold out every night with over 4,000 fans in attendance and have a waitlist for tickets in the thousands. The team has become known for their Dancing Players, Dad Bod Cheerleading Squad, Banana Nanas Senior Citizen Dance Team, Breakdancing First Base Coach, Banana Pep Band, and other entertainment offerings.
You can watch the Bananas take on their rivals, the Party Animals, on April 8 and 9 on ESPN+.
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