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Thursday, Aug 21st

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Mandalay Baseball Properties on the block

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Mandalay Baseball Properties, a major owner of Minor League Baseball teams, is for sale, as investor Seaport Capital is selling its share of the Mandalay holding company.

Manaday owns the Oklahoma City RedHawks (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Class AAA; International League) with the New York Yankees, the Erie SeaWolves (Class AA; Eastern League), the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League) and the Dayton Dragons (Low Class A; Midwest League). There are also some minority owners involved; for instance, a trust fund controlled by Earvin "Magic" Johnson owns a share of the Dragons. Peter Guber, the entertainment mogul also involved in the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership, is a minority investor as well. Mandalay also holds investments in Professional Sports Catering and 4Topps, a premium seating service.

The five teams are projected to generate $40 million in revenue this year, according to a prospectus developed by Game Plan, hired to broker the sale.

The teams are being sold as a group.

From Bloomberg:

[Seaport Chairman Bob] Caporale said he sees three categories of possible buyers: someone who wants the company to do more in sports entertainment; someone who wants to create a national minor- league footprint by expanding operations into hockey or basketball, or an equity fund interested in a pure investment.

The move is seen by many as fairly sudden: Mandalay has been seeking new markets for years (Wilmington, Ottawa as of late) and had a philosophy of working to make a big deal, rather than flipping and acquiring franchises. The initial Frisco plan, worked out in conjunction with former Dallas sports mogul Tom Hicks, included development and the construction of a hockey arena. The company was also known for developing talent and hanging onto good employees; a good share of the success enjoyed in Dayton and Frisco has to do with long-time operators like Robert Murphy, Scott Sonju and Eric Deutsch.

No word on a potential sales price; Caporale says they'll let the market come up with a valuation. However, with Triple-A teams now going for a minimum of $20 million and Dayton being one of the best-performing teams in Single-A, we'd expect the price to exceed $70 million.

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