MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KSDK) - The St. Louis Cardinals have reached an agreement to acquire the Memphis Redbirds, according to a news release.
The city of Memphis has acquired AutoZone Park, and will lease the park to the Redbirds through a long-term lease agreement, which includes significant capital investment in AutoZone Park to add features that officials hope will significantly improve the overall fan experience.
"We are thrilled that we are in a position to return the stadium back to the people of Memphis," John Pontius, treasurer for the Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation, said in a news release. "Our team will benefit from best-in-class leadership of the Cardinals."
"Returning ownership of AutoZone Park to its fans is a major victory for our city," Mayor A C Wharton said in a news release. "This agreement will retire all of our outstanding bonds and will stabilize the long-term future of the Redbirds and Autozone Park."
The Memphis City Council will make a decision on the agreement on Dec. 3, according to the news release.
The Redbirds were tied as the eighth-most valuable minor league franchise in 2013, according to Forbes, with an estimated worth of $29 million, with $9.5 million in annual revenue and $1 million in operating loss.
The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation has been operating the Redbirds and Autozone Park under a forbearance agreement since it defaulted on its required bond payment in 2010.