Dec 9, 2021 - Sports

Endeavor buys 9 minor league baseball teams

Illustration of a baseball with a broken seam exposing a $100 bill.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Endeavor — the publicly-traded company that owns the UFC, Professional Bull Riders, WME and IMG — is buying nine minor league baseball teams affiliated with MLB's most iconic franchises.

Why it matters: Minor League Baseball was forced to cancel the 2020 season because, unlike MLB, it didn't have media rights to fund games with empty stands. Endeavor, which has experience negotiating large media deals, believes it can change that.

  • The company has formed Diamond Baseball Holdings, which will oversee ticket sales, sponsorships, naming rights, food and beverage, and media rights for all nine teams.
  • Diamond Baseball Holdings hopes to negotiate deals with streaming services, per Bloomberg. It will also book concerts at venues.

Initial clubs: Iowa Cubs (Triple-A Cubs), Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A Cardinals), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A Yankees), Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A Yankees), San Jose Giants (Low-A Giants).

Still being approved: Gwinnett Stripers (Triple-A Braves), Mississippi Braves (Double-A Braves), Rome Braves (High-A Braves), Augusta GreenJackets (Low-A Braves).

The backdrop: This comes on the heels of MLB's minor league restructuring, which cut the number of teams by 25%. Starting next season, MLB teams will be required to provide housing.

Go deeper: Minor League Baseball grows con sabor

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