Welcome from Opryland, where the baseball industry is holding the Winter Meetings and Trade Show. Today some news about one of the many sales to be announced this week, with the Elmore Sports Group expected to buy the Lynchburg Hillcats (High A; Carolina League).
The sale of the Hillcats from Lynchburg Baseball Corp. is on the agenda for the Lynchburg City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 8, as reported by the Lynchburg News & Advance (no link; story not online). The sale is not a surprise: the team is on the market and was almost sold the Atlanta Braves for a potential move to Wilmington, N.C. in 2012.
There are some terms to be finalized. The team owes the city $2.1 million dating back to the 2004 renovation of City Stadium, and the Elmore Sports Group would pay off that debt and agree to keep the team in Lynchburg for 10 more years. In return, the city would take that $2.1 million and reinvest in the ballpark with new netting, new seating behind the plate, a playing-field renovation and parking-lot upgrades.
The sale has not been approved by the Carolina League or Minor League Baseball.
Elmore Sports Group is one of the largest operators in Minor League Baseball as owners of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League), Inland Empire 66ers (High A; California League), Eugene Emeralds (short season A; Northwest League) and Idaho Falls Chukars (rookie; Pioneer League).
Speaking of the Carolina League: there’s talk that discussions at the Winter Meetings could finally yield the move of two teams from the California League to the Carolina League. Nothing is final, and everything is preliminary, but the fact that it’s on the agenda means there’s some sort of movement.