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Syracuse Chiefs’ sale to Mets set to close in early December

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

Robert Julian, chairman of the Community Baseball Club of Central New York Inc., on Nov. 17 leads the special meeting of the Syracuse Chiefs shareholders, at which they voted to approve the sale of the team to the New York Mets. Eric Reinhardt/BJNN

SYRACUSE — The New York Mets will officially become the new owner of the Syracuse Chiefs when the acquisition closes in early December.

The minor-league baseball team on Nov. 17 announced that its shareholders approved the sale to the major league Mets by a vote count of 9,485 to 45 with 10 abstentions.

A two-thirds vote of the shares was required to approve the transaction, the Syracuse Chiefs said in a news release.

The vote means that the entities Sterling Mets L.P. II and Mets SYR, Inc. will be the new owners of the Community Baseball Club of Central New York.

“Well, it’s obviously emotional to relinquish control, but the Mets are a New York team,” Robert Julian, chairman of the Community Baseball Club of Central New York Inc., said in speaking with reporters after the meeting. “I think they’re going to be able to help us get stadium improvements. They’re the second most popular Major League [Baseball] team in this market. You’re going to see Mets stars come through here for decades to come. This is the best step we thought we could take to keep Triple-A baseball in this community forever.”

Julian also told CNYBJ that the Washington National’s player-development contract with the Chiefs continues through the 2018 season. The Mets and Nationals would have to reach an agreement to eliminate the final year, he added.

“That’s not something we have any control over,” said Julian.

The Mets plan to move their Triple-A affiliate to Syracuse in 2019.

The agreement, with negotiation support from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ensures that the baseball team will continue to play at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse through at least 2025, Cuomo’s office said.

Randy Mobley, president of the International League, attended the meeting and told the shareholders that the board of directors of the International League unanimously approved the merger contingent on shareholder approval. 

Mobley also congratulated the board of directors of the Community Baseball Club of Central New York on making a “difficult decision” that gives the Chiefs franchise the “best opportunity to not only remain a fixture in Syracuse for years to come, but to prosper and regain the prominence in the community that it once had,” according to the Syracuse Chiefs news release.

All approvals required to complete the transaction are complete. In addition to the Chiefs’ shareholders, Onondaga County on Nov. 9 gave its consent on the stadium lease. The International League, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball have also approved the deal.

New York State previously announced that, under an arrangement with the Chiefs, shareholders whose shares were escheated to the state under the abandoned property laws have until Nov. 27 to submit a proper claim to the state’s Office of Unclaimed Funds to have their shares reissued. 

The state on Nov. 30 will provide its final list of shares to be reissued to the Chiefs. As of Nov. 17, the state asked the Chiefs to reissue a total of 938 shares to a total of 441 shareholders. 

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