The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation today announced that it has reached a strategic agreement that would rescue the financially troubled Memphis Redbirds and AutoZone Park. The agreement calls for the St. Louis Cardinals to acquire the Memphis Redbirds and the City of Memphis to acquire AutoZone Park. The City would then lease the ballpark to the Redbirds through a long-term lease agreement. The agreement includes a significant capital investment in AutoZone Park to add features that will significantly improve the overall fan experience.
The plan has the full support of the Foundation’s sole bondholder, Fundamental Advisors LP, who will retire the original bonds issued by the Memphis Center City Revenue Finance Corporation as part of the transaction. Fundamental has agreed to take a significant discount on the original principal amount of the bonds as part of this transaction. Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. and members of his administration have conducted extensive due diligence and will recommend the Memphis City Council approve the transaction during its December 3rd meeting. The agreement calls for the parties to close the transaction byDecember 31, 2013.
“We are thrilled that we are in a position to return the stadium back to the people of Memphis,” said John Pontius, treasurer for the Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation. “Our team will benefit from best-in-class leadership of the Cardinals. We want to thank everyone involved, and look forward to a bright future ahead as a part of this world-class organization.”
“The Redbirds represent the best of minor league baseball,” added William DeWitt Jr., Chairman and CEO of the St. Louis Cardinals. “This opens the door to countless new opportunities for our combined organization, and we are thrilled about the prospects for baseball fans in both of our great cities.”