A television report has the Mobile BayBears (Class AA; Southern League) being sold to an Arizona investment group that would move the team to the Huntsville suburb of Madison, Savannah or Baton Rouge.
The report from WHNT quotes an investment pitch from BallCorps, LLC as saying the firm has had discussions with reps from Madison County and the City of Madison regarding a potential new ballpark in the Town Madison development. The pitch also lists Savannah and Baton Rouge as potential destinations. That Baton Rouge is under consideration is no surprise. A different investment group featuring existing MiLB owners had sought to buy the BayBears and move the team to Baton Rouge. That deal did fall through, however. And we also know that other business leaders in Huntsville had sought to bring back once the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) had moved to Biloxi.
The document says, “BallCorps has entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) to acquire the only Double-A team that league officials will agree to move, and engaged in conversations with multiple municipalities that have indicated they would build a new ballpark upon BallCorps’ commitment to relocate the team.”
However, the BayBears belong to the Southern League, and President of the Southern League Lori Webb told WHNT News 19 that the BayBears did not currently have permission to move markets. She would not say more about the potential sale besides, “This is a private business matter, and I will not and cannot discuss it publicly at this time.”
Nelson told WHNT News 19 the decision to move would not be made before their application to purchase a team was ruled on. He notes, “Even if our application is approved, baseball requires an extensive relocation process and additional approvals.”
There is one troubling part of the report, one that certainly will not be looked upon kindly by MiLB officials:
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents confirm BallCorps, LLC. has started looking for investors to amass $20 million in capital. The investment opportunity summary says that would be to move the Mobile BayBears to one of three cities, before aiming to sell the team again in five to six years.
Interestingly, selling the team right before the dreaded Year Seven mark. MiLB loves long-term, stable ownership.