Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"For A Long Time"

Wizards owner sells other Class A franchise

"Jason Freier, one of the owners, said the sale of the Salem Avalanche to a company that is also owned by the Boston Red Sox was “a fluky thing” and has “absolutely nothing” to do with the Wizards or the Harrison Square project.

“I can guarantee we will be baseball owners in Fort Wayne for a long time. We’re going to own the team for a very considerable amount of time,” Freier said in a phone interview. “One has nothing to do with the other. We never envisioned selling the Salem team. It was a fluke thing.”

Fenway Sports Group agreed to buy the Avalanche, a Class A team in the Carolina League. Hardball Capital had bought the team between the 2005 and 2006 seasons, the same time it bought the Wizards.

“I personally agonized whether or not to do the deal with the Red Sox,” Freier said. “(But) we’re not just selling the team to anyone. The folks that are coming in know a little something about baseball as well.”"
Previous DFWB coverage:
Hardball Sells Salem Team


Revolving Door
Afilliate change in JetHawks' future
Link (Antelope Valley Press)

"MLB rules prohibit either the JetHawks or the Red Sox from speculating publicly on 2009, but the purchase of the Salem franchise makes it very unlikely, though not impossible, that the Red Sox would stay in Lancaster after the 2008 season.

"I don't think it takes a lot of brain work to figure out that a big part of their interest in the franchise would be moving the team here," said Jason Freier, managing partner at Hardball Capital, which sold Salem to FSG. "All you need to do is pull out your atlas and put dots where their affiliates are and where Boston is and you can play which one of these doesn't belong."

Hardball Capital also owns the Fort Wayne Wizards, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres."
Astros may land in The Hangar
Link (Antelope Valley Press)

"John Katz, general manager of the Avalanche and an employee of the Astros, explained that he understood that the Astros might have to find a new home.

They couldn't refuse

The deal with Hardball Capital and Fenway Sports Group came as a shock to many in the Astros organization who knew Jason Freier and Chris Schoen - Hardball Capital's managing partners - as lovers of baseball and of being owners. Of course, they are business people as well.

"When people are presented with the right business opportunity," Avalanche general manager John Katz said, "anything is for sale at the right price."

It is unknown exactly what that price was, though estimates are in the $10-$20 million range."
"Hardball Capital is involved in a massive project with the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana to build a new ballpark for the Fort Wayne Wizards along with condos, a hotel, a shopping mall and a parking structure. The project is estimated to cost $150 million. $5 million will come from Hardball Capital, and they also agreed to use the stadium through 2029 as well as contribute $400,000 annually for its upkeep, according to Ben Lanka, who covers the projects for the Fort Wayne Gazette."