BOB: Padres sale and no easy out for Citi

Jeff Moorad agrees to buy Padres over five years

Jeff Moorad, who is currently a general partner with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and John Moores, the majority owner of the San Diego Padres, have reached a deal that will allow a group led by Moorad to buy up Moore’s stake in the Padres over a five-year period of time. Moorad will initially purchase one-third of the franchise by Opening Day and then he’ll have to incrementally purchase the remaining portion over a five-year period.

The ultimate price of the ball club will be $500 million including debt. Moorad will have to come up with $100 million for the initial purchase this spring; while there are no expected speed bumps, the deal still has to be approved by the owners.

For now, it appears the front office will be left intact with one exception. Moorad will replace longtime baseball executive Sandy Alderson as the team’s chief executive. Alderson recently announced his departure once he found out Moorad will be taking his past position.

Brewers and AirTran team up in naming rights deal

The Milwaukee Brewers’ all-inclusive seating area in right field will no longer be called the Field Haus. AirTran Airways came to an agreement with the Brewers recently on a multi-year sponsorship and marketing partnership that will rename the portion of the park the AirTran Airways Landing Zone. The amount paid wasn’t provided, but AirTran will also get signage, in-game promotions and advertising in Brewers publications.

Citi has no easy way out of naming rights deal

Last week, I talked about how Citigroup was trying to get out of its naming rights deal with the New York Mets. After my report was posted, Richard Sandomir at The New York Times penned an excellent column on how Citi would face some major difficulties if it tried to back away from the deal. The Mets know they can’t get something comparable, so they’d fight any attempt by Citi to try to get out of paying the $20 million per year.

In the story, there’s talk about the Treasury Department not having the power to block the deal, but remember this is the government, which tends to make its own rules. As we’ve seen with the TARP, things are made up as we go along. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Mets are left holding the bag though.

Frederick Keys get stadium upgrades

The Frederick Keys, the Baltimore Orioles Class A Advanced affiliate, recently announced that they’ll be installing a brand new scoreboard and videoboard in time for the 2009 season. This is in addition to the hard cost renovations being made to the restrooms, press box, clubhouses and seating bowl at Harry Grove Stadium. The videoboard is set to be 50 percent larger than the previous edition, and the scoreboard will be a state-of-the-art LED display. The overall renovations will also bring the stadium into compliance with the Americans for Disabilities Act. The projects have been ongoing since 2007 when the new field turf was installed.

Glendale spring training facility on track

Pitchers and catchers for a lot of teams report this week, and it looks like the Glendale facility, which will house both the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers this year, is on track to be finished on time. The White Sox recently released a press release spelling out what’s been done and what’s still on the table.

Minor League Baseball to move headquarters

The organization is not moving far, but Minor League Baseball has recently purchased a pair of buildings in St. Petersburg, Fla. It’s set to move its headquarters to the new location later this year. The current home is just eight miles south of the two buildings in downtown St. Petersburg.

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