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SIB buys Grand Prairie Airhogs

Grand Prairie AirhogsSouthern Independent Baseball (SIB), which already owns two American Association teams, finally breaks into the greater DallasFort Worth market with the acquisition of the Grand Prairie Airhogs (independent; American Association).

SIB already owns the Shreveport-Bossier Captains and the Amarillo Sox. The group is based in Dallas and had previously worked to bring a team to a downtown Dallas ballpark — efforts that never came to fruition.

“I’m very excited about acquiring the AirHogs,” said Gary Elliston, Chairman of the Board of SIB. “This is a great opportunity for us as well as the baseball fans in the area.  We are really looking forward to the 2011 season.” Elliston will be chairman of the board of the new corporate entity owning the Airhogs; Scott Berry will be president of the team.

“We can’t wait for the 2011 season to begin,” said Berry. “Gary and I love the fact that we have a team right in our own backyard. I look forward to working with the Grand Prairie community in bringing a championship to the area. The City of Grand Prairie has been great to work with and we plan on playing baseball at QuikTrip Park at Grand Prairie for many years.

“We’ve always focused on providing affordable family entertainment in a county fair atmosphere. We want baseball fans in Dallas County and Tarrant County to make this a destination place for fun during the summer. We’ll have a lot of things going on during games.  And we’ll have more announcements about the upcoming season over the next few weeks.”

Selling the team: Ventura Sports Group, which also owns the El Paso Diablos and the rights to teams in Laredo and Montgomery County in the greater Houston area. New ballparks in both areas are in the works, but a Montgomery ballpark is not expected until 2013. (A Laredo team, on the other hand, will debut next season no matter what.) The original plan, accoring to Ventura’s Mark Schuster, was to open the Montgomery County ballpark in 2012, but discussions with a local school district over designing the ballpark to also handle high-school football fell through, delaying the planning of the facility.

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