SXSW Softball Rules


To play on a team, you must register in advance by emailing Our tournament staff will reconfirm with you closer to the event, and is available to answer any questions you may have. In addition, there will be a Player Registration Table on the 4th floor of the Austin Convention Center, 1-5pm on Thursday and Friday during the Music Conference.

Each player must have either a music badge or a platinum badge to play on a team. This means bands who only have one badge for the whole band may only register one player (though it’s possible to get on a team in a no-show slot – see below).


On tournament day, player check-in at noon on the field in the player check-in tent, where you’ll sign a waiver and get your team jersey and cap. If you’re not there by 12:45pm, we’ll give your spot away to the first sober person we see – don’t be late! If you’re one of those badge-less band members who wants to get on a team, come to the tournament tent at 12:45pm and we’ll try to put you in a no-show slot.


  • First and second round games are 55 minutes; no inning starts after the 55th minute. First round games start at 1pm. Second round starts at 2:30pm.
  • Championship game runs 7 innings, no time limit, but with a 10-run mercy rule after the 4th inning. The game starts at 4pm. Extra innings, if needed, will start with a runner (the last batter from the previous inning) on second base.


No mercy rule in 1st and 2nd rounds. For championship game only, there is 10-run mercy rule after 4 innings – that is, the game ends if either team is ahead by 10 or more runs at the end of the 4th, 5th, or 6th inning.


Each batter starts with a 1-1 count. A batter with two strikes is allowed one foul ball. The second foul ball is strike three.


In general, games are played under standard city-league softball rules, as applied by the assigned umpires. The umpires are always right.


Mild swearing is okay, as long as it’s not directed at another player (“Oh shit” when injured – fine. “Fuck you!” to another human – not so fine). Just be aware that some of the umps take the profanity issue seriously so please try to keep the trash talk on the clean side.


SXSW teams are theoretically co-ed, but due to the smaller number of women players who sign up each year and various allegiances within the industry, women players are not always equitably distributed on SXSW teams. For these reasons, there is no minimum number of women required for a team to play. However, every player on the roster must play. No designated benchwarmers!