Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The group that owns Frisco now owns Oklahoma City

This is interesting. Baseball America is tweeting that the Oklahoma City Redhawks (or is it RedHawks?) have a press conference for tomorrow to announce that the team has been sold to Mandalay Baseball - who also owns the Texas League Frisco Roughriders.

Mandalay Baseball, with its partner (maybe you've heard of them), the New York Yankees are interested in purchasing the Scranton-Wilkes Barre franchise (also Triple-A), from Lackawanna County. But the Lackawanna County Commissioner wouldn't sell, unless there was an assurance that Triple-A baseball would remain in the area. (It's complicated.) This transpired on Sunday. Yankees president Randy Levine committed the Yankees to SWB last Saturday, so it's not like Oklahoma City will be the new Yankees franchise.

Mandalay also owns the Dayton Dragons (Reds Single-A), the Erie Seawolves (Detroit Double-A), the Hagerstown Suns (Nationals Single-A), and the Staten Island Yankees (NYY Single-A).

However, a week earlier, SWB officials expressed friction with how Mandalay did things:
"We've been tracking the attendance numbers and we're not happy," majority county Commissioner Corey O'Brien said. "It's a concern we have and we've shared that concern with Mandalay."

"I don't think any of the commissioners are happy with how Mandalay is running the operations," added minority Commissioner A.J. Munchak.

Majority Commissioner Mike Washo said the commissioners don't think it's all Mandalay's fault, "but the problem is pretty vexing."

The strategy works elsewhere, said Barry Gibson, executive vice president of ticketing for Mandalay.

"In any market, when we have issues or things aren't working, we don't sit idly by, we are very proactive," Mr. Gibson said.

Mandalay has thrived in other markets. The Dayton Dragons, an Ohio Class-A team - lower than Triple-A - owned by Mandalay, has sold out its stadium for 774 consecutive games with an average attendance of 8,539, an 11-year stint that will break a Minor League Baseball record in 2011 with its 815th game. The Frisco Roughriders, a Texas Double-A team the company owns, has had the highest attendance of any double-A franchise for seven consecutive seasons and had a average attendance of 7,886 this year.

So...lots to look forward to, Oklahoma City!