The Big Assist To Bring Back The Gay Softball World Series To The Twin Cities

Photos by Randy Stern
Photos by Randy Stern

The Gay Softball World Series (GSWS) is coming to the Twin Cities for the first time since 2012. That’s 11 years since the Twin Cities have hosted this major sporting event, and major it is. There will be over 5,000 participants and fans coming to the Cities from August 28th through September 2nd. This is not only great news for the Series and sports fans but will also bring economic revenue to the area.

About the GSWS

The GSWS is presented by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA), a nonprofit that promotes amateur sports competitions with emphasis on participants from the LGBTQ+ community. The GSWS is the largest LGBTQ+, single-sport, annual weeklong athletic competition in the entire world, making it a prestigious honor to host.

Members of the Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League partnered with Sports Minneapolis to win the right to host the Series from NAGAAA. Sports Minneapolis has previously secured hosting other major sporting events in the Cities, including the Super Bowl, the X Games, and more. The organization could not be more thrilled to add the GSWS to the list.

The Twins’ Help Bring GSWS Back

The Twins’ — Minnesota’s Major League Baseball team — have been instrumental in bringing the GSWS back to the Cities. The team was honored to be invited to be part of the group that presented the bid to host in 2020.

“We were the first MLB team to partner on the games,” says Nancy O’Brien, Vice President of Community Engagement for the Twins.

Fast forward to 2023, and the Twins are helping to promote the Series both at their games and through their various communication channels. O’Brien emphasizes how the Cities have always been an exceptional host for major sporting events.

“We have fantastic facilities, a passionate and enthusiastic community of sports fans, and we love to showcase our city to visitors from across the country and around the world,” she says. “We are excited to share our welcoming community with the athletes, as well as their family and friends.”

What to Know About the GSWS

This is the 46th annual Gay Softball World Series and the third time the Twin Cities have hosted. The Series boasts approximately 225 teams and an impressive 4,500 athletes in seven different divisions of play. The various games throughout the Series will be played at complexes in Burnsville, Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, South St. Paul, and Woodbury.

The Opening Ceremony & Welcome party kicks things off on Monday, August 28th at the US Bank Commons. On the 29th, you can enjoy a Pre-Game Block Party at Modist Brewing Company, featuring a Light Up the North Golden Ale. A portion of each “World Series Beer” sold all summer long goes to support the Gay Softball World Series. This event is also free and open to the public, no ticket to the game required.

Then, the big game when the Twins take on the Cleveland Guardians at Target Field at 6:40 pm on the 29th.

The game is branded with the GSWS theme- “Light Up the North Night.” Tickets purchased through the GSWS website,, include a co-branded Twins/Light Up the North baseball cap. A portion of the proceeds from this ticket package goes directly to supporting the Twin Cities GSWS organization.

If you’re not super keen on softball, there are dozens of other events associated with the Series you can enjoy, including a Hall of Fame Dinner on the 29th (ticketed) and a charity event concert at First Avenue on August 30th, featuring Taylor Dayne (also ticketed). The concert will also feature performances from Ru Paul’s Drag Race Queens BeBe Zahara Benet and Detox, plus other talented local entertainers.  The Saloon is hosting the Championship Weekend Kickoff Bash (ticketed) on Friday September 1st and the Closing Ceremony on Saturday the 2nd (free to GSWS participants with their wristband). 

O’Brien is most excited for the theme night and big game. “We’re looking forward to welcoming the athletes and their families to Target Field for Light Up the North Night,” she says. “Personally, I can’t wait to be a fan at their games and hope to cheer on our local Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League team and bring another world championship to Minnesota!”

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