Endeavor Group Agrees To Buy Nine Minor League Baseball Teams
Nine minor league teams have agreed to purchase agreements to sell to Endeavor Group Holdings, the publicly traded company announced on Wednesday morning (Dec. 8).
Endeavor has formed a subsidiary named Diamond Baseball Holdings to acquire all four Braves minor league affiliates (Triple-A Gwinnett, Double-A Mississippi, High-A Rome and Low-A Augusta) as well as the Cubs Triple-A affiliate (Iowa), the Yankees Triple-A affiliate (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre), the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate (Memphis), the Yankees High-A affiliate (Hudson Valley) and the Giants Low-A affiliate (San Jose).
DBH said it was also in the late stages of negotiations to purchase a “handful” of other significant franchises that it expects to announce “in due course.”
“Opportunities to move into an ownership position of a sport so steeped in history are increasingly rare, and we are confident this will drive meaningful growth in the Owned Sports Properties segment of our company,” said Mark Shapiro, who is now the president at Endeavor after holding executive positions at both Six Flags and ESPN. He is not related to Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro.
“Just as we’ve done for the UFC, PBR and Euroleague, we see tremendous potential to turbocharge these storied Clubs using the scale and capabilities of Endeavor," he said. "Our expertise across sponsorship sales, event operations, licensing, marketing and content creation will bring incredible value to these Clubs, supporting communities across the country who form the backbone of the Professional Development League system.”
By purchasing nine teams, DBH likely becomes the largest single owner of minor league franchises the minors have ever seen. Before Major League Baseball took over the minors at the end of 2020, the Professional Baseball Agreement prevented anyone from owning more than one team in a league.
Pat Battle, chairman of the board for Learfield (another Endeavor subsidiary), has been named the executive chairman of Diamond Baseball Holdings. Peter Freund, majority owner of the Memphis Redbirds before this process began, is the CEO of DBH.
In the release announcing the move, Endeavor said that “DBH will support its Clubs with ticket sales, partnerships, naming rights, food & beverage, merchandising, content strategy, collectibles/authentics/NFTs and media rights, tapping into the broader Endeavor network including Learfield and Endeavor Analytics for expertise across the various disciplines.”