ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Brian DeWine, his parents and their six siblings announced today that their group -- DeWine Seeds Silver Dollar Baseball, LLC -- is purchasing the Asheville Tourists from Palace Sports & Entertainment. DeWine will relocate to Asheville upon closing and assume the role of president of the Tourists.
"The Asheville Tourists are a perfect match for our family," DeWine said. "We wanted a team with not only a rich baseball tradition, but also one located in a community where my wife and I could raise a family -- a place that fits our values, and views baseball as an integral part of the community, just as we do. We found all of these qualities with the Asheville Tourists. We are honored to be a part of the strong baseball tradition that exists in Asheville."
DeWine has spent 10 years working in the business side of professional and collegiate sports, including a four-year stint with the Double-A Carolina Mudcats of the Southern League.
"Asheville's team is in good hands," said Joe Kremer, the long-time general manager of the Mudcats, and one of the most respected front office executives in professional baseball. "Brian will bring great passion and leadership to the Tourists organization."
The Tourists will continue to play at McCormick Field as the Class A South Atlantic League franchise of the Colorado Rockies.
"The Colorado Rockies have enjoyed the support of the Asheville community for 16 seasons, and we look forward to a continued partnership with the DeWine family for years to come," said Marc Gustafson, the Rockies director of player development.
Palace Sports & Entertainment purchased the Tourists in 2005 from long-time owner Woody Kern, and operated the team for four seasons. Under the direction of Detroit, Mich., operation that includes ownership of the NBA's Detroit Pistons, the Tourists posted four of their highest attendance numbers in franchise history, including a record 175,887 fans in 2008.
In addition, Palace Sports & Entertainment invested nearly one million dollars in capital improvements made to historic McCormick Field. Prior to the 2006 season, the company added a new picnic area and kitchen down the left field foul line, a new luxury club along the right field foul line, and new box seats behind home plate. Palace Sports & Entertainment also installed a new state-of-the-art LED scoreboard and made dramatic improvements to the concessions operation. These enhancements helped make McCormick Field more "fan friendly" and improved the entertainment value for all fans visiting McCormick Field
"Palace Sports & Entertainment enjoyed its four seasons operating the Tourists, working with the great staff in Asheville, improving McCormick Field, and providing Tourists fans with great family entertainment," said Alan Ostfield, chief operating officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment. "When the DeWine family approached us and expressed their interest in the Tourists and Asheville, we were pleased to talk with them and we know that the Tourists will be in good hands."
The sale is projected to close in March, and is subject to the approval of the South Atlantic League, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball. The City of Asheville must also approve the transfer of the McCormick Field lease to the DeWines.
The Tourists open their 2010 season at McCormick Field on April 8 against the Lakewood BlueClaws. Season ticket packages are currently available at the McCormick Field box office. For more information, please contact the Tourists front office at (828) 258-0428.
Brian DeWine Biography
Brian DeWine will assume the role of the president of the Asheville Tourists upon the official closing of the sale to DeWine Seeds Silver Dollar Baseball, LLC.
The fifth of eight children, Brian grew up in both Cedarville, Ohio, and the suburbs of Washington, DC. Brian, like all members of the DeWine family, had a great love for the game of baseball while growing up. He not only loved the action on the field, but also the "Hot Stove League" in the offseason.
While attending Clemson University in 2001, Brian interned for the Greenville Braves, the then Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Somewhere in between the tarp pulls and nacho-making he realized Minor League Baseball was the direction he wanted his career to take.
Brian interned for the Braves again the following season, and also completed an internship with the Savannah SandGnats during the 2003 season. He credits these internships with teaching him the ins and outs of the business.
In January 2004, Brian was named the director of marketing for the Double-A Carolina Mudcats. He had a wide range of responsibilities with the Mudcats, including account management, promotion planning, ticket sales, sponsorship sales, supervision of full and part-time staff, and direction of all in game entertainment. In 2007, he designed, implemented, and managed the team's new "Mini-Plan" ticket sales campaign, which resulted in nearly 1,000 new ticket packages sold. During Brian's four-year stint (2003-07) with the Mudcats, attendance increased 33 percent.
Most recently Brian has served as the ticket manager for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic department. Under his leadership, season ticket sales for football increased 99 percent this past season.
Brian is a 2002 graduate of Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. He also earned a Masters in Sport Management at The Ohio State University in 2003.
Brian and his wife Kali currently live in Chattanooga, Tenn., but are planning on relocating to Asheville to be active members of the community. Their first child, Kathryn Becky, died prior to birth in November 2008 from a rare genetic disease. They are joyfully expecting a baby boy in late January.
In his free time, Brian enjoys spending time with his family and watching all sports, especially his beloved Clemson Tigers. Brian is looking forward to his son's first Tourists game this Spring!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.