Here’s something to keep in mind about the impending move of the Mississippi Braves of the Class AA Southern League to Columbus – it’s a completely different ownership structure than we’ve had in the past in professional sports.

Columbus has had a minor league baseball team more often than not since 1909, but those teams were owned by identifiable individuals who had a tie to the community. Those teams were borderline profitable, but the owners were willing to take a financial hit because it wasn’t solely about money.

Of course, there was a breaking point, and that’s when we saw the team sold to another single owner or an ownership group, or saw the team head off to another city where there was a new ballpark or other incentive to realize a profit, or in the worst case scenarios, close up shop.

There was at least an identifiable individual with the power to bind and loose as it were. But this is a whole new deal. The team that’s coming to town is owned by a corporation, Diamond Baseball Holdings, which owns 28 teams.

And they’re in turn owned by Endeavor Group Holdings, which is the result of a merger of two Hollywood Talent Agencies, Endeavor and William Morris Agency. It’s not just baseball – Endeavor owns the WWE, UFC, and Learfield Sports, which handles the media marketing for Alabama, Georgia, and 90-plus other universities. No shock here that Endeavor is traded on the NYSE, which means they’re playing in the financial big leagues.

There’s no sentimental value to having a baseball team in this town for the ownership group. It’s all about making money for investors, which means the city has to toe the line, or lose the team.

The terms of the 20-year lease gives the team the right to bail if the city doesn’t maintain a refurbished Golden Park to Major League Baseball’s facility requirements. Get ready for the owners of the team to play hardball.

It will indeed be a new ballgame for the city of Columbus.

NOTE: Edited to remove Auburn from list of schools marketed by Learfield Sports. Auburn media marketing is handled by Playfly Sports Properties.

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