Texas baseball legend Nolan Ryan involved in locally organized deal to buy the San Antonio Missions

The deal sets in motion the team's probable move from the aging Nelson Wolff Stadium to a still-to-be-developed downtown ballpark.

click to enlarge The MLB has approved the sale of the San Antonio Missions, sources told the Express-News. - Instagram / samissions
Instagram / samissions
The MLB has approved the sale of the San Antonio Missions, sources told the Express-News.
In a widely expected move, a group that includes both San Antonio business executives and Major League Baseball legend Nolan Ryan has formally reached a deal to buy the San Antonio Missions, team officials said Wednesday.

Under the agreement, acquisition group Designated Bidders LLC would acquire the Double-A Texas League franchise from longtime owner the Elmore Group. Missions officials didn't reveal financial terms of the transaction.

The deal would put the Missions under local ownership for the first time since the 1980s. It also sets in motion the team's probable move from the aging Nelson Wolff Stadium to a still-to-be-developed downtown ballpark.

Designated Bidders' founders include Graham Weston of downtown development company Weston Urban, former Clear Channel radio exec Bob Cohen, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter J. Holt and business execs Bruce Hill and Randy Smith. The ownership group also includes former Spurs David Robinson and Manu Ginobili, along with local civic leaders.

“Local ownership is essential to ensure the long-term success of the Missions for our community,” said Hill, a Spurs owner who will serve as the point person in the Mission’s relationship with MLB. “Our group is excited to bring passionate and experienced local ownership to our professional baseball team in San Antonio and carry on the tradition of baseball in San Antonio that started in the 1880s."

Ryan Sanders Baseball — part-owned by former MLB pitcher and Texas native Ryan — will serve as the team's owners and operators, according to Missions officials. The group founded the Round Rock Express in 2000 and the Corpus Christi Hooks in 2005 and also oversaw the development of stadiums for both teams.

After his pitching career, Ryan also served as CEO of the Texas Rangers, then as president of business operations at the Houston Astros.

The Missions are an affiliate of MLB’s San Diego Padres.

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