Memphis Redbirds Ownership Change Coming

Endeavor, a $3.6 billion entertainment and events company which also owns Ultimate Fighting Championship and Professional Bull Riders, has created a new subsidiary, Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH).

On Wednesday, DBH announced it is purchasing the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, along with eight other farm clubs, reportedly with plans to acquire more minor league teams.

While still relatively young, this decade has seen dramatic changes to Minor League Baseball, led by MLB taking direct control. Dozens of affiliates and two levels of play were eliminated prior to last season, with some improvements enacted for the remaining players, including incremental increases in salaries and team-provided housing starting in 2022.

Peter Freund (Memphis Redbirds)

Apparently, Endeavor sees growth opportunity and/or economies of scale to be achieved by jumping into the minor league baseball market with both feet. Previous primary Memphis owner Peter B. Freund is also heavily involved with Endeavor, serving as its CEO.

Last year, Freund and his Trinity Sports Holdings were hired by the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball to spearhead the transition of the contracted former affiliates into new collegiate wood bat leagues.

Minority owners in the Redbirds have included the St. Louis Cardinals and Boyd Sports, whose owner, Randy Boyd, operated the former Cardinals Appalachian League affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee. Their continued ownership in the new Endeavor model is not yet known.

The Redbirds’ home, AutoZone Park, is owned by the City of Memphis and its use is covered by a long-term lease with the team. The club’s affiliation with the Cardinals (since 1998) is not affected by the team’s pending sale.

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