Global sports and entertainment company Endeavor paid about $47 million to acquire three minor league baseball teams from the Atlanta Braves earlier this year, part of its push over the last six months to consolidate nearly a dozen minor league clubs under one umbrella.
Endeavor’s entry into minor league ownership is well-documented, but the financial specifics have largely remained a mystery. A recent filing from Liberty Media, owner of the Atlanta Braves, provides some previously unknown context around the cost of those teams.
The Braves reported $47 million in cash proceeds from dispositions in the three months that ended in March 2022, a period in which the team closed on the sale of the minor league franchises to Endeavor. That number reflects the approximate price paid for those teams, according to someone familiar with the accounting, who was granted anonymity because those specifics are private.
Representatives for Liberty Media didn’t respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Endeavor (NYSE: EDR) declined to comment.
That $47 million transaction covers three franchises in the Braves farm system: the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers, the Double-A Mississippi Braves and the High-A Rome Braves. The Single-A Augusta GreenJackets, also affiliated with the Braves, were acquired in a separate deal from previous owner Agon Sports and Entertainment. Other teams purchased by the Endeavor roughly around the same time include the Triple-A affiliates for the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals.
Outside of the Liberty Media filing, financial details of these transactions have been sparse. In its year-end 10-K, filed earlier this year, Endeavor grouped a batch of six minor league acquisitions alongside a number of other 2021 deals in other parts of the company and reported acquisition costs of $470.4 million. In another filing earlier this month, Endeavor mentioned another four minor league purchases at a combined price of $64.2 million. None of the Endeavor documents break out the cost of specific teams.
The Braves are one of few publicly owned pro sports teams, and they release quarterly earnings reports through a parent company (Liberty Media). Endeavor, which owns Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), represents a notable corporate change in typical minor league ownership and will build its portfolio under subsidiary Diamond Baseball Holdings, which will operate the clubs.
Endeavor’s entry into baseball ownership came amid a wider—and highly controversial—restructuring of the minor leagues. Last year MLB finalized a reorganization that gave it complete control over the minors. This overhaul included dividing the minor league system into four classes and reducing the number of affiliates from 160 to 120 farm clubs.
Endeavor’s involvement also drew criticism, specifically from the MLBPA, which argued that the sports agents in Endeavor’s WME agency now have a conflict of interest. The union has threatened to decertify those agents, and Endeavor said in its 10-K that the dispute “may include a sale of our baseball agency business or a sale of [the minor league teams].”