Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC, owner of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, has reached an agreement to sell the franchise. The new ownership group will be a partnership between Mandalay Entertainment Chairman and CEO Peter Guber and other current principals of Mandalay Baseball Properties, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As a result of the purchase agreement, the RedHawks will be the Triple-A affiliate of the Dodgers beginning with the 2015 championship season.
The purchase agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approvals of the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball, and the review of the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. All terms of the agreement are confidential.
Under the new ownership structure, Guber will serve as Executive Chairman and Managing Director of the team, and partners Paul Schaeffer and Larry Freedman will manage the operations of the company. Guber, Schaeffer, and Freedman have long held similar roles as principals with Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC (MBP). Guber and Schaeffer are part of the Dodgers' current ownership group, and Guber also serves as Co-Executive Chairman of the Golden State Warriors of the NBA.
“I am thrilled to be partnering with the Dodgers in the Oklahoma City franchise and am looking forward to an exciting future for the enterprise,” Guber said.
Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC purchased the RedHawks in the fall of 2010. Under MBP, the RedHawks are just one of two Triple-A teams (30 total) to see an increase in attendance in each of the past four seasons. The 2014 season attendance of 429,190 was the team's highest since 2008.
“This marks the start of another exciting chapter in Oklahoma City's rich baseball history,” RedHawks President/General Manager Michael Byrnes said. “We are looking forward to building on what we've already established over the past four years and add new elements to the fan experience. At the same time, this new partnership will allow us to keep most of the day-to-day operations the same.”
“The Los Angeles Dodgers look forward to making Oklahoma City our long-term home for our Triple-A franchise,” said Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten. “We are committed to the great sports fans and the great city of Oklahoma City. We are excited to work with Michael Byrnes and his outstanding staff, who have been a very integral part of the community.”
The Dodgers will become the fifth Major League parent club to call Oklahoma City its Triple-A home and the third during the franchise's current incarnation as the RedHawks, following the Texas Rangers (1998-2010) and Houston Astros (2011-2014).
“We want to thank the Houston Astros for four wonderful years,” Byrnes said. “The Astros are a tremendous organization and we had a great run of success both on and off the field during our partnership.”
The Dodgers had been affiliated with the Albuquerque Isotopes over the past six seasons.
“This is a prestigious ownership group with a lot of options for their franchise. We're honored that they've decided on Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, one of the top minor league ballparks in America,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.
The RedHawks will open the 2015 season Thursday, April 9 against the Round Rock Express.