Endeavor is getting into the baseball business.
The owner of WME, UFC and IMG says that it is creating a new subsidiary, Diamond Baseball Holdings, which will own and operate a number of MLB Professional Development League clubs. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
The company will operate the Triple Affiliates of the New York Yankees (the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders), Chicago Cubs (Iowa Cubs), St. Louis Cardinals (Memphis Redbirds) and the Atanta Braves (Gwinnett Stripers). The company will also operate all of the Braves’ other minor league teams, as well as the Single A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, and the High-A affiliate of the Yankees. It is also in talks to acquire other minor league teams.
Endeavor has hired Pat Battle to be executive chairman of DBH and Peter Freund to be its CEO. Battle is an adviser to Endeavor and chairman of the collegiate sports marketing company Learfield, while Freund most recently consulted with the commissioner’s office at Major League Baseball to restructure the league’s development teams.
Diamond Baseball Holdings joins UFC, Professional Bull Riding and Euroleague basketball in Endeavor’s portfolio of owned sports businesses. The holding company says it plans to help the minor league teams with regard to ticket sales, partnerships, naming rights, food & beverage, merchandising, content strategy, collectibles/authentics/NFTs and media rights.”
“Opportunities to move into an ownership position of a sport so steeped in history are increasingly rare, and we are confident this will drive meaningful growth in the Owned Sports Properties segment of our company,” said Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor, in a statement Wednesday. “Just as we’ve done for the UFC, PBR and Euroleague, we see tremendous potential to turbocharge these storied Clubs using the scale and capabilities of Endeavor. Our expertise across sponsorship sales, event operations, licensing, marketing and content creation will bring incredible value to these Clubs, supporting communities across the country who form the backbone of the Professional Development League system.”