One Group Now Owns a Quarter of the Nation’s Minor League Baseball Teams

It's a dramatic shift for the sport

Hudson Valley Renegades
The Hudson Valley Renegades are one of the teams owned by Diamond Baseball Holdings.
Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

It’s been a turbulent few years for minor league baseball and Minor League Baseball alike. A contraction and consolidation of the existing system led to a number of teams losing their affiliation; in the wake of the decision, some high-profile fans of the game expressed their frustration. The formal changes to Minor League Baseball are one part of a larger set of changes — including a collective bargaining agreement for minor league players. But changes have also been afoot on the business side of things, with one deep-pocketed ownership group buying up over 25% of the nation’s affiliated minor league teams since 2020.

In a blockbuster report at The Athletic, Chad Jennings, Evan Drellich and Sam Blum explored the meteoric rise of Diamond Baseball Holdings, a private equity-backed group that owns 32 minor league teams across the country. As The Athletic explains, the company’s two founders — Pat Battle and Peter Freund — come from different backgrounds. Battle’s background is in licensing, while Freund owned several minor league teams before Diamond Baseball Holdings formed.

Battle pointed to his licensing experience with college sports as preparing him for this new venture. “I think MLB sees in us people who really understand Scranton and Des Moines,” he told The Athletic. As The Athletic explains, such a consolidation would not have been possible before the revamp of Minor League Baseball, as owners were not permitted to own multiple teams in a single league at that time.

The picture painted in the article of Diamond Baseball Holdings’ operations doesn’t set off many red flags. DBH hasn’t made wholesale changes at the teams they’ve purchased, and sources around the league who spoke with The Athetic had largely positive things to say about how they’ve conducted their business. There are some questions that remain unanswered, though — including whether DBH’s agreements with Minor League Baseball as a whole could clash with their responsibilities as team owners.

There’s also the question of whether there are further changes to come for Minor League Baseball, including rumors of further consolidation. As with a lot of things in the professional sports world, there’s plenty of money being thrown around by ambitious owners — even if the ultimate destination isn’t entirely clear.

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