As we reported last week, the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Low Class A; Midwest League) have been sold to Manhattan Capital Sports Acquisition, headed by Stuart Katzoff.
Art Solomon, who owned the team for five years and engineered its move from Columbus, Ga., and still retains ownership of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA; Eastern League), announced the purchase today.
“This is an announcement we make with extremely mixed feelings and a heavy heart,” Solomon said. “The people in this region have been so welcoming to us since we arrived in the fall of 2008, and without them we would not be where we are today. Stuart Katzoff is an outstanding, successful owner, and I have no doubt that this new era for the Hot Rods will mean great things for downtown Bowling Green and the surrounding region.”
“We and our partners are thrilled about this great opportunity to continue in the revitalization of downtown Bowling Green by improving on the success of the Hot Rods,” said Stuart Katzoff. “We are also excited that one of our partners is Don Dizney, who has ties to the Bowling Green and Warren County area.”
The Hot Rods new ownership group will assume the 15 years remaining on the 20-year lease with Bowling Green Ballpark. The team will remain in the Midwest League and will continue to be affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Stuart, along with Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and his father Jerry Katzoff, also own the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League). According to Forbes.com, the Reno Aces tie for #13 on the list of Minor League Baseball’s most valuable teams. As founder and president of the private investment group, Manhattan Capital, LLC, Stuart Katzoff has also been instrumental in developing a multi-million dollar entertainment district near the Aces Ballpark. The Aces have welcomed over two million fans since the club’s inception in 2009. The Katzoffs also own 14 Il Mulino restaurants.
“We are excited to welcome the Katzoffs as the new owners of the Hot Rods,” said Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanan. “The experience that they bring to our franchise and the commitment that they have already shown in getting to know our community makes it evident that they will be a great partner.”
Doug Gorman, chair of the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority, is also pleased with the new deal and expresses the gratitude of many individuals toward Art Solomon for helping the ballpark become a reality and committing the team to Bowling Green in 2008. “Art has just been awesome for this community,” said Gorman. “Without his leadership and guidance, we would not have had such a successful minor league baseball franchise. We certainly thank him for service and friendship to Warren County officials, residents and baseball fans alike.”
You can look for more acquisitions from Katzoff and crew: the goal of the fund, according to the Sports Business Journal, is to acquire up to seven MiLB teams. Given that the Mandalay Sports Properties sale to Mark Attanasio, Don Smiley and a third Milwaukee investor, David Lubar, failed, there’s plenty of inventory in the marketplace.
RELATED STORIES: Bowling Green Hot Rods on the block
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