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Syracuse Chiefs Sale to Mets Approved by Shareholders

Syracuse ChiefsSyracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) shareholders decided by a wide margin to sell the franchise to the New York Mets for $18 million, keeping the team at NBT Bank Stadium through 2025.

The vote was not close, with 88 percent of the votes going in favor of the sale. The Chiefs have been plagued by financial challenges for several years, even after the Chiefs First group loaned the team money in 2013.

“We thank our shareholders for their very strong support today,” Bob Julian, chairman of the Chiefs board of directors, said in a press statement. “We also thank Jeff Wilpon and the Mets organization for their interest in the Chiefs and their commitment to baseball in Syracuse. This will enable Triple-A baseball to continue in Syracuse. It will benefit our shareholders, and, most importantly, our community.”

Shares in the Chiefs were originally sold for $10 in the 1960s. The sale price is expected to be $1,300 per share, but a final number has not been established, as it will depend on how many “abandoned” shares are reclaimed. The public nature of the transaction is expected to take the rest of the year, with the Mets assuming control of the franchise in early 2018.

As noted, the Mets have committed to keep the team at NBT Bank Stadium through 2025.

The purchase by the Mets also clears up some issues in the team’s farm system. Currently the Mets’ AAA affiliate is the Las Vegas 51s, a situation that creates some logistical efforts for the Mets. The Chiefs are affiliated with the Washington Nationals through the 2018 season, an arrangement that is expected to continue. Under baseball rules, both sides need to opt out of a player-development contract (PDC) for any changes, and there’s simply no incentive right now for the Nats to opt out of a PDC for what could be potentially only a one-year tenancy in Vegas. Now, it could very well happen that the Nats end up in Vegas in 2019 by default. There are plenty of affiliate deals at the Triple-A level opening up in 2018, but most of these contracts will end up being renewed: it’s hard to see the Toledo Mud Hens and Detroit Tigers calling it quits, for instance.

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