Stop if you’ve heard this one before: the Fresno Grizzlies are nearly sold. Followers of the minor league baseball team have heard the rumors for years with no follow up. But once again, there are rumblings that something could go down in the near future.
GV Wire has heard a name of a potential buyer, but no one with the team, the city of Fresno, the potential new ownership group nor the Pacific Coast League are willing to confirm anything on the record.
Also, the city council will meet Monday (June 26) to amend the lease for Chukchansi Park. According to just released city documents, the rent would be fixed at $500,000 per year. Previously, the team paid $1.5 million, with various credits knocking it down to $750,000. There is also a profit sharing component (20% on profit over $500,000; but not to exceed $300,000 total).
According to those same documents, a buyer is listed as Fresno Sports and Events, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (“Buyer”), which will be owned and controlled by JC Sports and Entertainment, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and Fresno Home Field, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.
Chris Cummings, the lead owner of the Grizzlies, told this reporter in a text message, “Clearly, we have been talking to people about the baseball team. This (has) been going on for quite some time.” However, nothing as of yet can be considered definitive.
“I’m hesitant to go into detail of what the character of the (new) group is,” PCL president Branch B. Rickey told GV Wire. He deferred to the team for more details, which no one is willing to divulge yet. Rickey did say that the PCL has spoken with the potential new owners “so that we feel that we are fairly familiar with both the parties and efforts going forward.”
Both Rickey and Cummings said that a potential deal could happen soon, but not immediately. “We are in extra innings,” Rickey says. “This could have come to fruition a while ago, but we are still going and still watching the very careful handling of all aspects of it.” He estimates nothing in the next 30 days.
When asked about price, Rickey would not comment. A 2013 Forbes survey of minor league teams valued the Grizzlies at $24 million. At the time, that rank tied for 15th for all minor league clubs. In an updated 2016 survey, the Grizzlies did not crack the top 30.
“We are supportive of the group that is at the table right at the moment. We are optimistic that the chances of this deal closing are good. But, we have seen some previous efforts get fairly well along then not close. So, we are not jumping to a conclusion and predicting this will definitely going to close. We are simply optimistic the way that is being gone about, a very methodical manner that it is being handled. We don’t think there are any impediments that will derail it,” Rickey says
There are other changes in store for the PCL. The Colorado Springs franchise will be moving to San Antonio for the 2019 season. This could lead to chain reaction of affiliate-shifting that would pair the Grizzlies with its third Major League team since coming into existence in 1998.
The Colorado Springs team is currently signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. That deal (along with most affiliation agreements that can run in two- or four-year cycles) expires after the 2018 season. Same with the Grizzlies and Houston Astros.
BallparkDigest.com, which tracks affiliation moves, predicts that the Texas Rangers will partner with the new San Antonio club. That leaves their current affiliate, Round Rock (TX), free to explore a new team, likely the Astros. That is because Ryan Sanders Baseball owns Round Rock. That corporation is a joint venture of Lynn Nolan Ryan, aka the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher, and his son Reese Ryan. The younger Ryan is also president of the Astros.
That would leave Milwaukee to partner with Fresno, BallparkDigest hypothesizes.
Stay tuned to GV Wire for more developments.
What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.
Contact David Taub
Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail
This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.
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