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Canal Park lease extension approved for new Aeros owner

Akron AerosApprovals are in place for Ken Babby to buy the Akron Aeros (Class AA; Eastern League), and the city has agreed to a new Canal Park lease that will keep the team in town through 2037.

The new lease doesn’t call for the city to put more money into the ballpark, said Mayor Don Plusquellic; rather, part of the team’s lease payments will be used to pay for improvements.

The sale still needs to be formally announced, but it’s received all the requisite league and MiLB approvals. Babby may change the team name — anytime an owner buys a team, they have the power to change the name, per MiLB rules — and there’s talk of selling naming rights as well.

We’re guessing a little family money is involved in the purchase; Ken’s father, Lon Babby, is president of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and a former sports agent. The team has been repped by brokers for almost two years, and the asking price was around $18 million. No word on what the team actually sold for, but considering Mike Agganis bought the team for $48,000 in 1981, he and Greg Agganis are doing OK.

This isn’t the only Eastern League sale in the works; you can expect to hear about another EL team changing hands in the next few weeks. No, the sale isn’t related to Ottawa; it will be part of a multiteam purchase by owners outside Minor League Baseball.

RELATED STORIES: Akron looks at ballpark upgrades to keep AerosBabby emerging as Aeros owner


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