Start Dates for 2021 National and Independent Leagues

With another year of baseball affected by COVID-19, many leagues around the world have delayed the start of the 2021 season. In fact, of the 72 leagues surveyed here—most of them national leagues—only 13 were active on April 1, the traditional start date for the baseball season in the northern hemisphere, and just 24 by May 2. It is not until June 6 that most leagues will have begun play, when 50 will have started their seasons (and another doing so the following weekend).

Asia is the continent that is least affected, while several notable circuits in the Americas (the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol and MLB’s minor league teams) and Europe (Italy’s leagues, the Netherlands’ Hoofdlkasse, and French hardball) are all delayed, the latter indefinitely. Eleven other leagues—all but one a national league—had yet to even comment on the possibility of a campaign this summer as of April 8 and six remained uncommitted on May 15. We will continue to update this list as more information becomes available.

Updated: April 15, April 28, May 1, May 15, May 27,  June 6.

No spring league: 4/4
The only known leagues—Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda—do not play at this time of year.

Active as of April 1: 6/16
Active as of April 25: 6/16
Active as of June 6: 12/16
No spring league: 1/16
Cuba: No delay to 2020-21 National Series
Curaçao: TBD
El Salvador: February 10
Mexico (LMB): May 20
Nicaragua (Germán Pomares): February 19
Puerto Rico: June 27
USA (Atlantic League, MLB Partner): May 28
USA (American Association): May 18
USA (Empire League): After June 10
USA (MLB): Apr. 1
USA (MLB minor leagues): May 4
USA (NAIA): No delay.
USA (NCAA): No delay.
USA (Pecos League): June 2
USA (United Shore League): May 28
No reports on a 2021 season: USA (Pacific Association)
No spring season: Panamá.

Active as of April 1: 6/11
Active as of April 25: 7/11
Active as of June 6: 7/11
No spring league: 1/11

Japan (NPB): March 26
Japan (Shikoku Island League Plus): March 27
Laos (men): Jan. 16
Laos (women): Jan. 16
Philippines (UAAP*): Cancelled
South Korea (KBO): April 6 (delayed a day due to rain)
Taiwan (CPBL): March 13
Vietnam: Jan. 8-11 (National Championship)
No reports on a 2021 championship: Pakistan, Sri Lanka
No spring season: Thailand (no national league, youth leagues over winter)
*University Athletic Association of the Philippines. The Philippine Baseball League is defunct again.

Active as of April 1: 2/41
Active as of April 25: 11/41
Active as of June 6: 31/41

Austria: April 9
Belgium: June 12
Bulgaria: May 8
Croatia: April 9
Czech Republic (Extraliga): April 9
Denmark: May 1
Estonia: May 24
European Super League: TBD
Finland: June 2
France: June 12
Germany: April 1 (South), May 9 (North)
Great Britain (BBF, all leagues): May 2 (except South West: May 16)
Great Britain (East of England): May 9
Great Britain (Herts Spring League): April 24-25
Great Britain (Northern League): June 6
Great Britain (West Country): May 16
Great Britain (West Midlands): May 16
Great Britain (Women’s Baseball UK): May 22
Hungary: March 21
Italy: May 8 (Group C only), May 22 (full Serie A)
Lithuania: April 17
Netherlands: April 30
Norway: June 6 (was April 24)
Poland: April 25 (was April 2, then April 18)
Russia: May 24
Scotland: June 6
Serbia: April 11
Slovakia: May 15
Slovenia: April 24
Spain: April 10
Sweden: June 5 (was early May)
Switzerland: June 5 (was April 10)
Ukraine: May 8
No reports on a 2021 season: Belarus, Euro Inter League, Great Britain (BSUK Universities; East Midlands, may have folded), Ireland, Latvia, Moldova, Romania.

About Gabriel Fidler

Extra Innings UK covers baseball around the world, focussing on the sport at the national team level, with features on prominent players, scouting reports, and occasional breaking news. We are fully credentialled by MLB and have covered the World Baseball Classic, continental championships, and the U.S. minor leagues.
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