We have a sale in Minor League Baseball to report: the Kannapolis Intimidators (Low A; Sally League) are being sold to a group headed by veteran MiLB operator Reese Smith III, as Smith Family Baseball departs MiLB.
The purchase was announced today. It is still subject to approval from the South Atlantic League, and Minor League Baseball, and review from Major League Baseball.
“We welcome Reese L. Smith III and his partners, the new owners of the Kannapolis Intimidators. We have had the pleasure to speak with the new owners and are excited about their enthusiasm for minor league baseball and the Intimidators,” said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “We look forward to working with them as we consider a sports and entertainment venue as an anchor in the soon to be completed Downtown Revitalization Plan.”
As part of the sale of the team, the Kannapolis City Council has voted to transfer the current lease of Intimidators Stadium from Smith Family Baseball to Intimidators Baseball Club LLC.
Smith Family Baseball leaves Kannapolis after a decade of working toward a new facility. The city is in the process of analyzing the possibility for a sports and entertainment venue in downtown Kannapolis. Renovating the current ballpark isn’t feasible: The 20-year-old ballpark is in need of major renovations, and because the current facility is located within a protected watershed zone that limits development growth, the property cannot be expanded nor can additional supportive development (restaurants, shops, etc.) occur on the remaining vacant property.
Intimidators Stadium was jointly built in 1995 by the Rowan County-Kannapolis Regional Sports Authority, attracting a team that relocated from Spartanburg, SC. The City acquired full ownership of the stadium in 2012. The team leases the stadium from the City. The stadium currently seats 4,700. Average per game attendance in 2015 was 2,056, with a total season attendance of 135,727 – a ten percent increase from 2014.
Smith Family Baseball was comprised of Brad Smith and his father, Dale Smith, who passed away last fall.
Reeese Smith also has ownership stakes in the Daytona Tortugas (High A; Florida State League) and Jackson Generals (Class AA; Southern League). Before that he was an investor in the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).