KINSTON, NC (CAROLINA LEAGUE) — The Texas Rangers today announced that the franchise has officially completed its sale to purchase the new Carolina League franchise in Kinston from Minor League Baseball.
With the completion of the sale, the Rangers have entered into a formal four-year Player Development Agreement in Kinston. Minor League Baseball requires Player Development Agreements for all minor league affiliates, and these may be a maximum of four years.
“The Rangers are pleased to officially complete our purchase of the Kinston franchise,” said Neil Leibman, Chairman of the Rangers Ownership Committee and CEO, Kinston Baseball LLC. “While per the Minor League Baseball Agreement, all official Player Development Agreements can be only for a four-year maximum, the Rangers have a 12-year lease with the City of Kinston, and we expect a long and productive partnership with this great region.”
On August 22, the Rangers announced that the organization had entered into an agreement to purchase controlling interest from Minor League Baseball in the new Kinston club. A second new franchise to be announced will expand the Carolina League to ten teams beginning with the 2017 season and mark a return of professional baseball to Kinston for the first time since 2011.
It was also announced that the new franchise has entered into a five-year partnership with the Minges Bottling Group to make Pepsi its Official Soft Drink. The agreement gives Pepsi exclusive pouring rights for carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, bottled water, isotonic sports drinks, energy drinks, and vitamin enhanced waters.
“Being a part of a first-class baseball organization is exactly the partnership we welcome,” said Jeff Minges, CEO of Minges Bottling Group. “What has been most rewarding for our company is creating a win-win partnership with the new ownership. They have great leadership in their management team and I feel strongly this will transcend to an enjoyable experience at historic Grainger Stadium. We are so happy they have chosen Pepsi, born right here in Eastern North Carolina, to be their official soft drink.”
“We are excited to enter into this long-term partnership with Pepsi and the Minges Bottling Group,” said Wade Howell, Kinston Baseball LLC General Manager. “This is a great local company who will help us enhance the ballpark fan experience. We are happy they are on board.”
Howell also announced the appointments of Jon Clemmons as Director of Sales, Janell Bullock as Director of Operations, and Donta Lewis as Coordinator of Operations for the new franchise.
Clemmons has spent the last six seasons with the South Atlantic League’s Asheville Tourists, serving as Assistant General Manager since 2014. Bullock, who was previously the Assistant General Manager for the Kinston Indians from 2008-11, was the Merchandise Manager for the Carolina Mudcats the last three years after two seasons in the same capacity with the Pacific Coast League’s Nashville Sounds. Lewis comes to Kinston from the Rangers’ South Atlantic League affiliate in Hickory, where he was the Stadium Operations Manager in 2016.
The Rangers will be playing at Kinston’s Grainger Stadium, which hosted a Carolina League franchise in all but three seasons over a 50-year span from 1962-2011. The rich history of professional baseball in Kinston dates back to 1921. The Cleveland Indians had their Carolina League affiliate in Kinston from 1987-2011 before the franchise moved to Zebulon, NC for the 2012 season.
Information on the new Kinston franchise can be found at www.KinstonBaseball.com. The website has links 2017 season ticket information, and for Kinston Baseball and Texas Rangers merchandise