Already the largest operator of Minor League Baseball teams, Diamond Baseball Holdings is adding the Wichita Wind Surge (Double-A; Texas League), with two more purchases expected to be announced shortly.
The club will remain in Wichita as the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
There were rumors of the team being on the market this summer, as the ownership slate was affected by the passing of team founder Lou Schwechheimer. In addition, the team had given signals last month that it was halting or at least pausing work on a ballpark district development when construction fencing was removed from a Riverfront Stadium parcel. Diamond Baseball Holdings did not acquire those ballpark district development rights, we’re told, leaving Wichita Riverfront Limited Partnership and EPC Real State Group to fulfill any ballpark development plans. (The Wind Surge acquired development rights to the four acres of ballpark acreage for $1 per acre as part of the deal to lure the team to Wichita.)
The former New Orleans Baby Cakes (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League) was slated to launch in 2020, but COVID-19 forced the MiLB season to be scrapped; in the meantime the Wind Surge was moved to the Double-A Texas League during MLB’s reorganization of Minor League Baseball.
“On behalf of the Club’s owners and in memory of my husband Lou, who championed a vision of the Wind Surge and the stadium, we thank the city of Wichita for its support and passion over the past four years,” Jane Schwechheimer, General Partner of the Wichita Wind Surge, said via press release. “The Wind Surge are in great hands with the DBH team. We are confident in the DBH team’s continued commitment to Wichita and to fulfilling Lou’s legacy of maximizing what Riverfront Stadium can mean for the community for generations to come.”
“DBH is thrilled to continue building and enriching the meaningful connection between the Wind Surge and the Wichita community,” said Pat Battle, Executive Chairman, of Diamond Baseball Holdings, said via press release.
“By elevating the experience that fans know and love, and by further activating other events at Riverfront Stadium to provide opportunities to engage the city and drive additional value for fans, players and local businesses, we are excited to deepen the Wind Surge commitment to Wichita,” said Peter Freund, CEO of Diamond Baseball Holdings, said via press release.
According to a Wind Surge press release, the transaction is expected to be completed before the end of the year, subject to standard consents and closing conditions, including approval of the transfer of the Riverfront Stadium Facility Use and Management Agreement from the current Wind Surge ownership to DBH.
This is not expected to be DBH’s only announcement of a team purchase at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego; we hear that the next two acquisitions will be the Portland Sea Dogs (Double-A; Eastern League) and the Midland RockHounds (Double-A; Texas League).
Diamond Baseball Holdings made a splash at the 2021 Winter Meetings with the announcement of the purchase of nine MiLB teams across all levels of play; the Oklahoma City Dodgers (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League) were later added to the roster.
DBH operates 10 MiLB clubs: Iowa Cubs (Triple-A; International League); Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A; International League); Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders(Triple-A; International League); Hudson Valley Renegades(High-A; South Atlantic League); San Jose Giants (Single-A; California League); Gwinnett Stripers (Triple-A; International League); Mississippi Braves (Double-A; Southern League); Rome Braves (High-A; South Atlantic League); Augusta GreenJackets (Single-A; Carolina League) and Oklahoma City Dodgers (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League League).
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