New owners take over Tacoma Rainiers

April 4, 2011 

New owners take over Tacoma Rainiers

Mikal Thomsen, the leader of the Rainiers new ownership group, grew up in University Place and going to baseball games in Cheney Stadium, where he says he 'fell in love with the game.'

BY JANET JENSEN/THE NEWS TRIBUNE — The Olympian

The Baseball Club of Tacoma, a group of 15 partners headed by Curtis High School and Washington State graduate Mikal Thomsen, has taken over ownership of the Tacoma Rainiers.

The official announcement was made this morning at the newly renovated Cheney Stadium.

“Success, to me, is making this the best baseball stadium it can be, and the best fan experience it can be,” Thomsen, 54, said.

Thomsen is a Tacoma native and a wireless communications executive who currently lives in Bellevue. He said his stake in the team is more than a third, and that he is actively looking to add new partners to the group in the next few months.

In December, the Baseball Club of Tacoma entered a preliminary letter of intent to begin negotiations to buy the Rainiers from SDL Baseball Partners, led by Kirby Schlegel. Thomsen said his group gave the Schlegels a March 31 deadline and that the deal got final approval on that day.

“It was a little bit of a nail-biter,” said Thomsen, who said he first became interested in the Rainiers about 10 years ago but could not make the commitment because of his job.

He said he was approached in September about his interest in entering a group that would purchase the Rainiers.

“I waited for a group to be formed but no group was formed, and I waited, and no group was formed,” he said, “So I formed a group.”

Thomsen did not reveal the purchase price, saying the group paid a similar price to what other Pacific Coast League franchises were sold for. The Portland Beavers were sold in 2010 for a reported $15 million to $17 million, while the Tucson franchise sold for $13.5 million in 2007.

Thomsen – who is part owner of the Walla Walla Sweets of the West Coast League, a collegiate wooden bat league – said having the extensively remodeled stadium was a key for his group.

“It would have been an awful lot more work and much more difficult,” he said.

The Rainiers begin the 2011 season on Thursday in Sacramento. The team's home opener is April 15.

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service