MKE Sports & Entertainment confirms it is managing a second team for 2015, adding an expansion summer-collegiate Prospect League team in Kokomo to its deal to run the Rockford Aviators (independent; Frontier League).
It’s not news — we reported last week that MKE was running a new Kokomo team — but it is worthy of further mention. MKE Sports is owned by Mike Zimmerman: he runs a successful sports facility in the Milwaukee suburbs, and Zimmerman has been working to bring an expansion Frontier League to the area. He’s not been successful in finding a city willing to publicly finance a new ballpark (Franklin passed; Oak Creek hasn’t committed), but he’s certainly put some work into the effort.
Stil, working on a new-ballpark and sports complex and taking on management of two teams is a big challenge. It takes a certain level of expertise to run a baseball team on any level, and MKE Sports & Entertainment is tackling that task twice in 2015, taking on a big potential turnaround in Rockford, where the Aviators need a lot of TLC, and taking on an even bigger challenge in Kokomo: launching a new team in a new market in a new ballpark. Reportedly, Chris Hanners will be involved in both ventures — he’s a founder of the Prospect League and a key part of Frontier League ownership and management — so there’s some level of expertise here.
But the new team comes at a transitional time for the Prospect League: industry veteran Dave Chase is no longer commissioner, and the league is looking to relocate its office to Kokomo.
“I have been all over the Midwest in the past six months looking for the right opportunity for baseball,” Zimmerman said in a press release “After spending the day with Mayor Goodnight and city staff, as well as attending a local youth baseball game, I was hooked on Kokomo. The energy of the community with their love for sports and the revitalization project currently underway downtown is the perfect storm…. it’s a real recipe for success. I am truly humbled and grateful that the city has chosen my group to represent the great city of Kokomo.”
The team will have the inevitable name-the-team contest.
RELATED STORIES: MKE Sports to manage Aviators in 2015; Franklin mulls new Frontier League ballpark; New pro ballpark pitched for suburban Milwaukee; Kokomo approves bonds for new ballpark; New Kokomo ballpark on tap for 2015
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