Endeavor, the massive sports and entertainment agency, bought up a bunch of minor league baseball teams last year as MLB was pulling off its massive farm system reorganization (some would say destroying it). And now it has divested itself of them due to pressure from the MLB players association.
Under pressure from the Major League Baseball Players Association, the sports and entertainment agency Endeavor has sold its stake in 10 minor league teams to one of the agency’s investors, the private equity firm Silver Lake.
The $280 million sale of Diamond Baseball Holdings to Silver Lake was announced Tuesday.
Endeavor and Silver Lake started buying up minor league teams together last year, as first reported by The Athletic. Diamond Baseball Holdings, however, was technically a subsidiary of Endeavor. The MLBPA got involved because Endeavor’s sports arm also includes a baseball agenting business. Agents, per union rules, cannot also own teams, and the MLBPA warned WME agents that they were at risk of losing certification unless the situation was addressed. All major league player agents are certified by the MLBPA, setting up a potential pick-your-poison scenario for Endeavor: keep the teams, and potentially lose the agents, or vice versa.
Endeavor said it believes the issue is resolved. The MLBPA has not commented on whether the transaction satisfies their demands. Two of the 10 teams sold are Yankees affiliates — the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
The Renegades became a Yankees affiliate last season. They’ve been tied to the RailRiders since 2007. That contract runs through 2031. You’d assume the Yankees will stay in the Electric City (technically Moosic) for a while. That’s about as close as their Triple-A club is going to get to the Bronx unless the Phillies gave up the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Besides, it’s not that far. Kei Igawa made the drive every day.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]