Kernan group agrees to sell team to new owner
South Bend, Indiana (November 23, 2011) -- President of the South Bend Silver Hawks, Joe Kernan, announced today that an agreement to purchase the team has been reached with Mr. Andrew Berlin, who is the sole owner of Swing-Batter-Swing, LLC based out of Chicago, Illinois. The announcement was made in the briefing room of the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County.
According to Kernan, "We have had other interest in purchasing the team over the past few months, but only Andrew Berlin wanted to keep the team in South Bend. This has always been our goal - to keep the team here at home." Kernan also noted that "We (the current owners) have never been well capitalized. We've never had enough money to promote or operate the team the way we really needed to. So, we've been looking for additional investors since the beginning. Andrew's financial resources are far greater than ours. He will be able to do all of the things that we could never do. He's a family man who loves baseball, loves our community and has made a big commitment to the city of South Bend."
Berlin's commitment to the city includes a new agreement for the use of Coveleski Stadium that will keep the team in South Bend for the next twenty years -- the first multiple decade commitment in the history of professional baseball in South Bend. "This is great news for the city," commented Steve Luecke, Mayor. "Andrew Berlin is virtually guaranteeing that the hundreds of jobs created by the team, and the millions of dollars in new revenue poured into the local economy will continue for years to come, and ensures that the Cove will become a very real cornerstone of the plan to redevelop, revitalize and reinvest in Downtown South Bend!"
Berlin, who brought his wife, three daughters and a future son-in-law (two younger sons were at home) to the press conference, added, "If not for Joe Kernan and his investors who clung to this team for the past six years at considerable personal expense, I would not be here today. Why? Because the team would not be here today.They did something rare. They kept the team here because they knew that losing it would be bad for South Bend. That tells me that this is a great town with great people. In fact, I feel as though South Bend is something of a microcosm of Chicago. It is a diverse community with a lot of enthusiasm for sports and family entertainment. And for me personally, it's a short drive from my office in downtown Chicago." In addition to being the owner of Swing-Batter-Swing, LLC, Berlin is Chairman and CEO of Chicago-based Berlin Packaging.
"This is a day to celebrate," added Luecke. "Andrew Berlin will be investing millions over the next few years as he builds and markets a new family experience at the Cove. It is just one more reason to celebrate South Bend as an All-American City."
When asked if Kernan and his investors would make money on the sale of the team, Kernan's response was: "No. We have never made a penny owning the team. Nor, will we make any money by selling the team."
Kernan and Berlin also made it clear that the agreement between his group and Andrew Berlin is "...subject to approval by Baseball Authorities."
Specifically, The Midwest League, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball must approve any sale.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.