The Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam also owns a minor league baseball team in Tennessee, the “Smokies.” He is reportedly interested in selling the minor league team, possibly to focus on the Cleveland Browns.
“It does have something to do with Cleveland in that we’re obviously going to be spending more time there,” Haslam said, via Knoxvillebiz.com. “But I think the reality is the entire partnership group had owned the team for 12 years and felt like it was time for new ownership.”
A buyer may have emerged in local businessman Randy Boyd, CEO of Radio System Corporation.
“(One day) this January I’m driving down the road, Jimmy calls me and says ‘Hey, would you like to buy the team?’ I should have probably pulled over to catch my breath, but I was very excited to get the opportunity and said yes immediately.”
“It is a financial investment, but it’s really more of a community investment,” Boyd said. “I plan on keeping it ‘til I die, passing it on to my children, and hopefully they’ll pass it on to their children.”
Haslam and his group paid $7.5 million for the Smokies in 2002.
The real reason might have more to dow with Haslam’s other business ventures. His giant chain of truck stops, Pilot, is the subject of a federal fraud investigation around a rebate scheme.