We reported on this at the beginning of the month, and now the San Antonio Missions sale is now official, with the buyer lineup a combination of local investors and Ryan Sanders Baseball, owner of the Round Rock Express (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League).
The sale of the Double-A Texas League team by owner Dave Elmore and the Elmore Group is to Designated Bidders, LLC, headed by Bruce Hill, Randy Smith and Graham Weston of Weston Urban, local entrepreneur Bob Cohen of Bob Cohen Strategies, and Peter J. Holt. Ryan Sanders Baseball, owned by the families of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and native Texan Nolan Ryan, CEO Reid Ryan, and Don Sanders, will join Designated Bidders as owners and operators of the Missions.
In addition, the new Missions ownership group also includes Spurs legends and Basketball Hall of Famers David Robinson and Family and Manu Ginobili, along with numerous San Antonio civic leaders, including Henry Cisneros, Hope Andrade, Berto Guerra, Max Navarro, and La Familia Cortez. Former MiLB players Roger Clemens and Craig Biggio are part of the Ryan Sanders ownership and their investment in the Missions.
“Local ownership is essential to ensure the long-term success of the Missions for our community,” said Bruce Hill, who will serve as the point person in the Mission’s relationship with Major League Baseball, via press statement. “Our group is excited to bring passionate and experienced local ownership to our professional baseball team in San Antonio and carry on the tradition of baseball in San Antonio that started in the 1880s. The investor group is pursuing this challenge out of our collective desire to keep San Antonio the vibrant, diverse and unique city that we all love. We will work hard to continue building the San Antonio Missions as an important part of the quality of life in San Antonio and an affordable family entertainment option in South Texas. Partnering with Ryan Sanders Baseball adds great strength to our efforts as we embark on this new era of professional baseball in San Antonio.”
Weston Urban brings experience from the development of new and exciting San Antonio downtown projects, including Frost Tower, Legacy Park, 300 Main and the upcoming redevelopment of the former Continental Hotel block. In addition, Holt, Hill and Cohen bring a substantial track record of sports business success to the new ownership group. Under Holt’s leadership as Chairman of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the team has won five NBA championships. Hill is a part owner of the Spurs, and Cohen, a San Antonio native and longtime Clear Channel and commZoom LLC executive, has been involved in media, sports and entertainment throughout his career. SSE also owns San Antonio FC of USL Championship.
The big issue for the new ownership: addressing the team’s ballpark situation. The Missions and the Weston Group have been discussing a new ballpark since 2012, and with all sides realizing the challenging in raising Nelson Wolff Stadium to the new MiLB facility rules imposed by MLB, spending money on the old ballpark wouldn’t have the economic impact of a new ballpark.
“We believe our city needs a vibrant stadium where pedestrian-friendly business, recreation, public spaces, art and culture attract the talent of today and tomorrow,” said Smith, the CEO of Weston Urban, via press statement “When developed properly, state-of-the-art developments anchored by a well-located ballpark can provide the stimulus to accelerate those critical human connections. An approachable, family friendly venue is a key component of continuing to build the city our kids will call home.”
“Ryan Sanders Baseball and the Ryan family have 25 years of experience, leadership, and success in the industry at both the minor league and major league levels,” said Reid Ryan, CEO/Owner of Ryan Sanders Baseball, via press release. “Our team’s dedication to excellence and the fan experience is in great alignment with the Designated Bidders group of investors, their vision and energy. This partnership will ensure the future of professional baseball in San Antonio for generations to come, and we couldn’t be happier to be on board for the journey.”
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