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York Revolution set to have new Atlantic League foe in North Carolina for 2021 season

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Brandon Bellamy
  • The Atlantic League is expected to add a franchise in Gastonia, North Carolina in 2021.
  • It will become the second Atlantic League franchise in North Carolina.
  • The 2020 Atlantic League season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The York Revolution franchise is a member of the Atlantic League.

The York Revolution franchise is scheduled to have a new opponent in 2021.

The Atlantic League announced Tuesday that it is officially expanding to Gastonia in North Carolina, with a team ownership group led by Brandon Bellamy, chief executive officer of Velocity Companies, Inc. Gastonia becomes the second Atlantic League location in North Carolina, joining High Point, where the Rockers began play in 2019.

“Gastonia (is) a city that has shown tremendous ingenuity and resolve, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Atlantic League President Rick White in a news release.

The 2020 Atlantic League season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league was scheduled to have eight teams this past season: the Revs, the Rockers, the Lancaster Barnstormers, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, the Long Island Ducks, the Somerset Patriots, the Sugar Land Skeeters and the Road Warriors, an all-travel team with no home field. The league-run Road Warriors are used when the league has an uneven number of teams.

Rick White

The addition of Gastonia next season may give the league an even number of teams and make a Road Warriors franchise unnecessary. That is assuming that the other seven teams that were set to play in 2020 will return after the pandemic in 2021. That also assumes that the pandemic will be over by the 2021 season and allow a league season at all.

In partnership with the City of Gastonia, Bellamy and The Velocity Companies will collaborate on economic development projects tied to the ballpark, which are expected to include residential, retail, hotel and office-space properties. It's being billed as a potential $100 million investment opportunity for the city.

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The city’s 5,000-seat multi-use ballpark, which will be managed by the team, is under construction according to Atlantic League facility specifications. The venue will serve as a community recreational asset open to all for its inaugural season in 2021, offering year-round access for entertainment events, community-based sports and recreational activities. It will function as the centerpiece of the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment (FUSE) development, a redevelopment project for the City of Gastonia.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. Information for this story was provided by the York Revolution and the Atlantic League.