We expect plenty of news about franchise sales this fall, and here’s the first: Jeff Eiseman and Chris Schoen of Agon Sports and Entertainment are purchasing the Boise Hawks (short season A; Northwest League).
The announcement was made by Hawks owner Neil Leibman, the chairman and CEO of the Hawks’ majority ownership group, Minor League Holdings, LLC, with the sale going to Agon Sports and Entertainment, which also owns the Augusta GreenJackets (Low Class A; Sally League). Terms of the sale were not disclosed, and the sale is pending the approval of Minor League Baseball and the Northwest League, and the review of Major League Baseball.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to be the next stewards of the Boise Hawks,” said Jeff Eiseman, president of Agon Sports and Entertainment, in a press release. “Boise is a visionary city with great people and tremendous fans — we are thrilled to be a part of this community and we will work hard to win your hearts. We would also like to thank Neil Leibman and his partners for entrusting us the honor of being part of Hawks history.”
Eiseman and business partner Chris Schoen established Agon Sports and Entertainment in 2012 as a holding company and management entity to oversee minor league sports opportunities. Agon purchased the GreenJackets in November 2012.
The pair will face a challenge: Memorial Stadium isn’t the best of facilities, and attempts at a new ballpark did not go very far, even though Boise is a boom town these days. A new ballpark was once pitched for downtown Boise by some business leaders, with some arguing Boise is more of a Class AAA market than a short-season market. We’ve had some business discussions regarding setting up shop in Boise with another our websites, and there’s certainly a lot of business expansion in the city. But the Hawks have not been able to tap into this new Boise economy, despite some credible efforts from the front office, and we’re guessing the long-term plan from Eiseman and Schoen don’t include a long-term commitment to Memorial Stadium.
“This will be a new era for the club, we plan on investing in the team, creating some new experiences at Memorial Stadium, enriching our promotional schedule, staffing up and getting engaged in the community,” Eiseman said. “Our first step is to speak to our fans and sponsors and see what’s working and what isn’t. We are going to be more active this off-season than I imagine the club has been in a long time and our fans will notice the difference come baseball season. I promise we’ll make you proud of the Boise Hawks and see a renewed spirit and commitment. 2015 is just the first step.”
Leibman, the Chairman and CEO of Aspen Pipeline LP in Houston, Texas, has been the majority owner of the Hawks since 2006.
“We feel confident that the new ownership group will continue to run the Hawks with the same passion as well as bring a new sense of life to the team,” Leibman said.
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