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Diamond Baseball Holdings acquires majority stake in Tulsa Drillers

Tulsa DrillersIn an unusual deal for the private-equity firm, Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH) is buying a majority stake in, and not a full purchase of, the Tulsa Drillers (Double-A; Texas League).

Dale and Jeff Hubbard will stay on as minority shareholders alongside Arlo DeKraai, a longtime Tulsa resident and businessman. It’s been a Hubbard family affair since the pair’s father, Went, bought the team in 1986. As has been the case with all DBH acquisitions, existing staff and management will remain in place after the transaction. The Drillers will remain the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and current staff will continue to be led by President and General Manager Mike Melega.

“While this is a bittersweet moment, it is definitely the best thing for the Tulsa Drillers and paves the way for professional baseball to continue to be a staple of the Tulsa community for future generations to enjoy,” said Dale Hubbard via press release. “DBH will provide long-term stability for the franchise and our current staff will also remain in place and continue to work to make a visit to ONEOK Field one of the best family-friendly and affordable entertainment options in Tulsa. As minority owners, Jeff, myself and Arlo will continue to see Drillers fans, the best baseball fans in the country, at the ballpark.”

“The Los Angeles Dodgers would like to thank Dale, Jeff and Arlo for their strong commitment to the players and staff in Tulsa for over two decades,” said Stan Kasten, President & CEO, Los Angeles Dodgers via press release. “We are excited to continue our commitment to Drillers baseball in Tulsa by partnering once again with Diamond Baseball Holdings, which also owns and operates our Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.”

The Tulsa Drillers play at ONEOK Field, the club’s home since 2010, located in the historic Greenwood District of downtown Tulsa. DBH plans to further activate the venue as an accessible community hub in Tulsa.

“The Hubbards have built and maintained an incredible franchise with the Drillers, and we’re proud to build on this legacy for many years to come in Tulsa,” said Pat Battle and Peter Freund, Executive Chairman and CEO, respectively, of DBH, via press release. “We’re dedicated to preserving the fan-first experience by continuing to support the amazing Drillers fans and staff and look forward to growing our partnership with both the Dodgers organization and the entire Tulsa community.”

“It has been awesome to get to know DBH, and it’s clear that they will provide tremendous resources for us,” said Drillers President Mike Melega via press release. “We are confident that this new era of Drillers baseball will help us reach even higher than we have before with respect to in-park entertainment and special events. It will be business as usual when opening night arrives on April 9, 2024, at ONEOK Field and our leadership team and staff will remain in place. We are already working towards that night and fans can expect the same great experience that they are accustomed to.” 

The purchase of the majority stake is subject to MLB approval.

The Tulsa Drillers become the 22nd team under Diamond Baseball Holdings ownership, joining Triple-A’s Iowa Cubs, Memphis Redbirds, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, St. Paul Saints and Gwinnett Stripers; Double-A’s Altoona Curve, Birmingham Barons, Midland RockHounds, Mississippi Braves, Portland Sea Dogs, Springfield Cardinals and Wichita Wind Surge; High-A’s Hickory Crawdads, Hudson Valley Renegades, Lansing Lugnuts, Rome Braves, Salem Red Sox and Vancouver Canadians; and Single-A’s Augusta GreenJackets, Down East Wood Ducks and San Jose Giants in being operated by DBH. We could see a total of 50 licensed MiLB teams from DBH in the future.

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