SBJ/Aug. 4-10, 2014/Franchises

Who owns the teams?

Editor’s note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Almost one quarter of Minor League Baseball’s 160 clubs are owned by 10 groups that have three or more teams in their portfolio. That number increases to roughly 38 percent if you add in the 11 groups that own two clubs. These groups typically include executives who have deep business backgrounds both inside and outside of sports.

OWNERS WITH 3+ CLUBS

7th Inning Stretch

Key executives: Tom Volpe, chairman, CEO; Pat Filippone, president and general manager

Teams (when acquired): A-Adv. Stockton Ports (2002)*, A Delmarva Shorebirds (2006), A-Short Everett AquaSox (2008)

Notables: Volpe was an investment banking and risk capital executive leading up to his purchase of the Ports.

Beaver Sports Properties

Key executives: Don Beaver, president; Peter Fisch, director of operations

Teams (when acquired): A Hickory Crawdads (1993), AAA Charlotte Knights (1997), AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (2000)

Notables: Beaver also is a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brett Sports & Entertainment

Key executives: Bobby Brett, principal owner; Brent Miles, president; George Brett, partner

Teams (when acquired): A-Short Spokane Indians (1985), A-Short Tri-City Dust Devils (2004), A-Adv. Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (2009)

Notables: Also owns the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs and produces radio broadcasts for Gonzaga University.

Elmore Sports Group

Key executives: David Elmore, owner, chairman; Donna Tuttle, co-owner; Douglas Elmore, managing director

Teams (when acquired): AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox (1981)*, A-Short Eugene Emeralds (1983), Rookie Idaho Falls Chukars (1986), AA San Antonio Missions (1987)*, A-Adv. Inland Empire 66ers (1993)*, Rookie Helena Brewers (1999), A-Adv. Bakersfield Blaze (2006)

Notables: Elmore was a partner with McBride, Baker, Wienke and Schlosser in Chicago from 1958-68 before founding Elmore Sports Group in 1969. The group also owns the ECHL Utah Grizzlies.

Greenberg Sports Group

 Key executive: Chuck Greenberg, chairman

 Teams (when acquired): A-Short State College Spikes (2006), A-Adv. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (2006), AA Frisco RoughRiders (2014, pending)*

 Notables: Greenberg is a former managing partner and CEO of the Texas Rangers.

HWS Group

Key executive: Mike Savit, managing partner

Teams (when acquired): AA Mobile BayBears (2003), A-Adv. Modesto Nuts (2005), A-Short Mahoning Valley Scrappers (2008), A Dayton Dragons (2014, pending)*

Notables: Savit worked for IMG from 1981-97, specializing in event management. He also owns Coastal Plain League Columbia (S.C.) Blowfish.

Rich Baseball

Key executives: Robert Rich Jr., chairman, Rich Products Corp./vice president, Rich Entertainment Group; Melinda Rich, president, Rich Entertainment Group; Jonathan Dandes, president, Rich Baseball Operations

Teams (when acquired): AAA Buffalo Bisons (1983), AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (1987), A-Short Jamestown Jammers (1994)

Notables: Also owns the Palm Beach (Fla.) National Golf and Country Club.

Ken Young

Teams (when acquired): AAA Norfolk Tides (1993), AA Bowie Baysox (1996), AAA Albuquerque Isotopes (2002), A-Adv. Frederick Keys (2006), AA Huntsville Stars (2014)

Notables: Also owns the AHL Norfolk Admirals.

OWNERS WITH 2 CLUBS

Alliance Baseball

Key executives: Gary Green, CEO; Larry Botel, co-founder; Eric Foss, managing partner; Brian Callaghan, managing partner

Teams (when acquired): AA Richmond Flying Squirrels (2009), AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (2012)

Mandalay Entertainment Group

Key executives: Art Matin, director and CEO of Mandalay Baseball; Larry Freedman, president of Mandalay Baseball; Robert Murphy, COO of Mandalay Baseball

Teams (when acquired): AA Erie SeaWolves (2003), AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks (2010)^

Manhattan Capital Sports Acquisition fund

Key executives: Stuart Katzoff, principal; Jerry Katzoff, principal; Brett Beecham, director of operations and general counsel. The group also includes Herb Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever.

Teams (when acquired): AAA Reno Aces (2006)*, A Bowling Green Hot Rods (2013)

Additional groups:

The Goldklang Group: A Charleston Riverdogs*, A-Short Hudson Valley Renegades*

Ripken Baseball: A-Adv. Charlotte Stone Crabs, A-Short Aberdeen IronBirds

Ryan Sanders Baseball: AAA Round Rock Express; AA Corpus Christi Hooks

Miles Prentice: AA Midland RockHounds; A-Short Connecticut Tigers; investor in AA Biloxi 2015 team relocating from Huntsville

Hardball Capital: A Fort Wayne TinCaps, A Savannah Sand Gnats

Peter and Rita Carfagna: A-Adv. Lancaster JetHawks, A Lake County Captains

Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers: AA Montgomery Biscuits, A Lansing Lugnuts

Joe Finley and Craig Stein: AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs (2006); A Lakewood BlueClaws (2000). Separately, Finley owns the AA Trenton Thunder, and Stein is an investor in the AA Reading Fightin Phils.

* Includes ownership of the team’s ballpark

^ Also owns a half-interest in the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Notes: Dates listed represent when the current owner acquired rights to the team. The team may have played in a different market at the time of the acquisition. In addition to these ownership groups, the MLB Atlanta Braves own the AAA Gwinnett Braves, AA Mississippi Braves, A Rome Braves and the Rookie Danville Braves; and the MLB St. Louis Cardinals own the AAA Memphis Redbirds, AA Springfield Cardinals, A-Adv. Palm Beach Cardinals and the Rookie Johnson City Cardinals.

Sources: Ownership groups, MiLB, SportsBusiness Journal archives

Compiled by David Broughton


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