A group of local investors calling itself the Baseball Club of Tacoma has entered a preliminary letter of intent to begin negotiations to buy the Tacoma Rainiers from the team's current principal owners, SDL Baseball Partners.
A News Tribune source said the Baseball Club of Tacoma was being led by Tacoma native and Curtis grad Mikal Thomsen.
Pacific Coast League president Branch Rickey would not confirm that Thomsen was the leader of the prospective ownership group or identify other group members.
"Certainly the information that we know at this point, it looks to be attached to an individual with considerable credibility, and a potential group that would have greater breadth and roots in the community, and stability and potential appreciation of what it means to own a Triple-A franchise and how professional sports works," Rickey said. "I think we could anticipate them being good partners."
Thomsen, a Washington State grad, is co-founder of Trilogy Equity Partners, an investment group based in Bellevue. Thomsen has extensive experience in telecommunications - serving as the president and before that chief operating officer of Western Wireless Communications.
One of his fellow co-founders at Trilogy is John Stanton, who founded Western Wireless and also is a member of the Baseball Club of Seattle – the minority owners of the Seattle Mariners.
Thomsen and Stanton also were part of the Basketball Club of Seattle, LLC, the former SuperSonics ownership group.
Thomsen still has several ties to the Tacoma area and serves as a member of the executive board of the Tacoma Glass Museum.
Submitting a preliminary letter of intent triggers a mechanism in the Pacific Coast League requiring that prospective owners submit a preliminary application review, Rickey said.
This preliminary application review – PAR – places a burden on the buyer to come forward to have a review by the league of the deal points, the complexion of the ownership and ownership projections and resources, Rickey said, adding that the Baseball Club of Tacoma has not yet submitted a PAR.
"But I expect it in very short order," Rickey said.
The Rainiers' current owners, SDL Baseball Partners, formerly known as Schlegel Sports, purchased the team from George Foster on Nov. 30, 2006.
Since then, Schlegel Sports has signed a 32-year lease with the city of Tacoma to keep the Rainiers here. And this past year, they've begun a massive renovation of Cheney Stadium that is scheduled to be ready for opening day of the 2011 season.