Phillies Lakewood BlueClaws affiliate sold to Shore Town Baseball

The Lakewood BlueClaws, the Phillies Low-A affiliate, has been sold to Shore Town Baseball, a group led by Art Matin, former CEO of Mandalay Baseball.

A fairly substantial took place in the Phillies’ minor-league system as the Low-A Lakewood BlueClaws were sold to Shore Town Baseball, a group comprised of Art Matin, former owner of several minor-league teams, and local investors Bob Tamashunas and Bill Luby, who both live in Monmouth County.

The news was announced Thursday afternoon by the team. No financial details were released about the team, but an estimate says the team has an annual revenue of about $13.4 million. They own the highest average attendance of the South Atlantic League and their seven-millionth fan will step through the gates Thursday night.

Matin is a veteran of the minor-leagues. He was the CEO of Mandalay Baseball Properties from July 2008 to June 2015. That group owned nine minor-league teams such as the Dayton Dragons, Oklahoma City RedHawks, Frisco RoughRiders, and Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Matin formed Shore Town Baseball with Tamshunas and Luby, who are both partners at the equity firm Seaport Capital. That firm was the majority owner of Mandaly, so the connection to Matin stems from there.

Matin and Tamashunas expressed their excitement in acquiring the BlueClaws in a release from the team:

“This opportunity with the BlueClaws is certainly very exciting for all of us,” said Matin. “Our ownership group is made up of people who love the game of baseball, have extensive experience in owning minor league baseball franchises, and bring local knowledge and commitment to the table. We look forward to continuing the tradition of providing fun family entertainment and exciting professional baseball for decades to come here on the Jersey Shore. I have always admired the previous BlueClaws ownership group and thank them for working with us on this opportunity and congratulate them on 17 terrific seasons with the team.”

Tamashunas said, “I am especially excited as a Jersey Shore resident and lifelong Phillies fan to be part of this ownership group with the BlueClaws. I know full well that the BlueClaws are a great asset for the Jersey Shore community and look forward to our fans and partners enjoying the BlueClaws experience in the coming years.”

This is the first time ownership of the BlueClaws has changed hands since its inception in 2001. Joe Finley and American Baseball Ventures have owned the team since its inaugural season, and they have always been affiliated with the Phillies.

Club president Andy MacPhail welcomed Shore Town Baseball and expressed his optimism for the future as well:

It’s hard to imagine much changing for the BlueClaws for the fans or how the team interacts with the major-league club, but it’s always interesting to get a look into the business aspect of sports.