We alluded to team sales coming down the pike a few days ago, and this is one of them: Main Street Baseball, which owns the Quad Cities River Bandits (Low Class A; Midwest League), is buying the Billings Mustangs (rookie; Pioneer League).
Main Street Baseball also owns the High Desert Mavericks (High Class A; California League).
The news is set to be announced at a Friday press conference attended by Main Street Baseball’s Dave Heller and Bob Herrfeldt. The team is being purchased from a set of community investors that includes Woody Hahn.
Mustangs fans — and we’re among them, annually attending Mustangs for a good decade, going back to the Cobb Field days — shouldn’t worry about the team moving: Billings is a top Pioneer League market, Dehler Park has the bones of a great home, and there’s plenty of upside for Main Street Baseball to exploit in coming seasons. Quad Cities is a continual contender for Ballpark Digest award recognition; this year the team won recognition for Best Ballpark Improvement after the installation of a Ferris wheel at Modern Woodmen Park.
That the team has been for sale is no secret: it was first put on the market in 2010. From the Billings Gazette:
In 2010, the board authorized Hahn to explore the possibility of selling the Mustangs. Preliminary conversations with an unidentified potential buyer began in the summer of 2013.
The Mustangs have been one of the eight-team Pioneer League’s most prosperous franchises, averaging close to 3,000 spectators a night for 38 home games since Dehler Park was completed in 2008. Only the Ogden Raptors in Utah typically average larger crowds. The team reported a profit of nearly $250,000 in 2013.
When asked last year why investors would consider selling, Hahn told The Gazette that the board wanted “to reward — reward’s not the right word — people for a lifetime of work.”
No word on the sales price, but we do know the purchase has already received preliminary approvals.