Though there’s been chatter about the Memphis Redbirds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) being on the market, nothing is on the horizon, says John Pontius.
Pontius is treasurer of the Memphis Redbirds Foundation, and he’s been pretty forthcoming about efforts to sell the team and AutoZone Park; a sale to parent St. Louis Cardinals fell through several years ago, and there have been meetings about selling the ballpark to the city. But there doesn’t appear to be any rush to make a deal: Fundamental Advisors, which holds the note on the ballpark, seems happy to hold onto the ballpark as an appreciable asset and is giving the team room to financially maneuver. The team isn’t making full payments on the bonds held by Fundamental Advisors so operations can continue; this season, for example, the Redbirds put $2 million toward a new scoreboard this season.
That doesn’t mean a sale won’t happen down the road; it means that all involved are probably waiting for an uptick in the economy to stir investor interest. There are other PCL teams on the market — beyond the Tucson Padres — as well as several other MiLB teams. Franchises are not moving unless there’s a deal to be had (i.e., motivated sellers), so unless someone walked into the Redbirds office and makes an incredible offer, there’s no use in a huge marketing effort right now.
“I think everyone is comfortable with we’re doing a good job now,” Pontius said. “We had to convince people, logical skeptics, because of our financial failures you think that this can’t be done well. A lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into it and we’re all comfortable we’re doing a good thing now.”
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