-Major League Baseball Endorses High School All-Star Baseball Game -
COLUMBUS, GA. (July 13, 2005) – Aflac announced that the third annual Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic will be played on Saturday, August 13, at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md., and will be nationally televised live on FSN in 18 of their regional sports networks, reaching more than 81 million subscribers. The game has been televised on FSN the past two years, but this will mark the first live broadcast of the nation's top prep all-star baseball game. The final roster for the 2005 game, which features the top 38 rising seniors in the nation, will be announced on Thursday, July 21.
“Major League Baseball is pleased to endorse the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic as the marquee prep All-American event,” said Bud Selig, commissioner of Major League Baseball. “We consider it a critical part of growing the sport of baseball and developing future fans and ballplayers.”
Baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr., will serve as the game's honorary chairman for the second consecutive year with net proceeds benefiting the pediatric oncology division at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The Atlanta Braves FSN South broadcast team of Tom Paciorek and Bob Rathbun will be the Aflac Classic announcers for the second year in a row.
“Having this prestigious high school all-star game telecast live on FSN is a natural next step following the success of televising the game the past two seasons,” said George Greenberg, executive vice president of Programming and Production. “Capturing the excitement generated by many of the nation's top baseball prospects live from Ripken Stadium will be an added bonus for our viewing audience.”
Featuring the game's top prep players, the Aflac All-American alumni have had a huge impact in the past two Major League Baseball first-year player drafts. Overall, there have been 18 alumni selected in the first round, including the past two No. 1 overall selections: Matt Bush (2003, San Diego) and
Justin Upton (2004, Arizona).
“In less than three years, the Aflac Classic has become the all-star event high school baseball players strive to play in,” said Al Johnson, Second vice president, Advertising and Branding at Aflac. “The game has achieved unparalleled success in the baseball world and most importantly, is proving to be an effective vehicle in raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer.”
In addition to Aflac's title sponsorship, the game also features several leading sports apparel companies as sponsors, including Adidas (official sports brand), Mizuno (official equipment provider) and New Era (official cap sponsor). This year's game will also mark the second year that The Topps Company will be a national sponsor.
The Aflac National Selection Tour has been a remarkably successful initiative which has helped promote the game. This multi-city tour travels around the country to the hometowns of the Aflac All-Americans to announce their selection to the team at various Major League ballparks. The tour has featured many of Major League Baseball's top players, including Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Roger Clemens (Houston Astros), John Smoltz (Atlanta Braves) and Jeff Kent (Los Angeles Dodgers).
The Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic is endorsed by the Major League Baseball Players Association as the marquee prep All-American event. The game exclusively features baseball's leading industry publication Baseball America and prep scouting service Perfect Game USA as the official Aflac Classic selection partners. Aflac also partners with Sports America, Inc., a sports marketing and event management firm based out of Rockville, Md., to create and produce the baseball classic.
For the latest news on the 2005 game and players, log on to aflacallamerican.com.
For 50 years, Aflac products have given policyholders the opportunity to direct cash where it is needed most when a life-interrupting medical event causes financial challenges. Aflac is the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force in Japan. Aflac's insurance products provide protection to more than 40 million people worldwide. In January 2005, Aflac was included in Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the seventh consecutive year. Aflac has also been included in both Forbes magazine's Platinum 400 List of America's Best Big Companies and in Fortune magazine's listing of America's Most Admired Companies for five consecutive years. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.
Sports America, Inc.