South Bend Cubs partnership with Chicago Cubs extended to 2030 as part of restructured Minor League system
SOUTH BEND — Today, after formally accepting Major League Baseball’s invitation to join the newly constituted Minor League Baseball system, the South Bend Cubs have been officially elevated as a Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The new agreement with Chicago extends the partnership with South Bend through the year 2030.
Major League Baseball’s reorganization of Minor League Baseball began in December 2020, when 120 of the 160 existing teams across the nation were invited back to join the new system.
“We don’t take our relationship with Major League Baseball for granted,” said Andrew T. Berlin, Chairman, and Owner of the South Bend Cubs. “The commitment we’ve made to professional player development at Four Winds Field played a decisive role in that invitation to remain with the league. Now, fans from across this region will see an even higher level of play on the field. The leap to Class A-Advanced is an exciting development for all of us.”
“Continuing as a Chicago Cubs affiliate is a testament to how professional baseball has changed in the city of South Bend,” said Joe Hart, President of the South Bend Cubs. “Our promise to invest in player development is what attracted the Cubs to South Bend in the first place. The past six years have shown our commitment to that promise by providing world-class facilities for the future of the organization.”
Since 11 a.m., November 11, 2011, when he officially announced purchasing the team from former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan and 62 other local investors, Berlin has personally invested over $9 million of his own funds into the city-owned ballpark that would not only benefit the team, but also the community. Player-focused improvements include the same real turf found in Major League stadiums, expanded and improved locker rooms, and a state-of-the-art training facility. Fan amenity additions include the Tiki Hut, expanded fun zone, and splash pad.
In 2019, Berlin also opened a new $22 million residential complex adjacent to the stadium called The Ivy at Berlin Place.
“The investment in and around Four Winds Field has solidified our club as a leader in baseball and downtown development,” added Hart. “But we would not be in this position without the incredible support from fans across the region, our corporate partners, season seat holders, and Cubs fan base.”
South Bend has been honored nationally for its facility improvements including the coveted John H. Johnson President’s Award in 2015 (Minor League Baseball’s highest honor), Midwest League Field of the Year in 2016, Ballpark Digest’s Best Class-A Stadium in 2017, and Ballpark Digest’s Outstanding Achievement Award for the Ivy at Berlin Place in 2018.
In 32 seasons, over 7 million fans have attended Minor League Baseball games in South Bend. Since 2015, over 1.7 million fans came through the Four Winds Field gates, nearly 25% of the total franchise attendance.
“Four Winds Field has become a summer destination,” said South Bend Cubs Vice President and General Manager Nick Brown. “Our fan experience goes beyond the facilities and play on the field. We’ve become the gold standard in guest service, making sure our fans enjoy themselves from the moment they park their vehicle. From the cleanest restrooms in baseball to the best tasting hot dog, we put an emphasis on the little details to make sure each guest has a memorable experience.”
As part of Major League Baseball’s restructured development system, South Bend Cubs fans will see more experienced and talented players as the Midwest League moves from Class Low-A to Advanced-A, one step closer to the Major Leagues. As of this past year, the South Bend franchise has had 184 players make it to a Major League team with 15 of those call-ups occurring since 2015. In addition, 19 Major League players have been assigned to South Bend on a rehabilitation assignment, 9 of those coming in the last four seasons.
A schedule for the 2021 season is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks with season-long promotions and giveaways expected to be announced in the spring.
The South Bend Cubs affiliation with the Chicago Cubs began in 2015. Prior to that, the organization was an Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate from 1996-2014 and Chicago White Sox affiliate from 1988-1995.