A group of retired baseball legends, which include Nolan Ryan, David Ortiz and Barry Larkin, have formed Dugout Ventures, a new private equity firm focused on backing baseball-specific companies. Coinciding with the launch, the firm is launching its inaugural fund targeting $50 million. So far, Dugout Ventures has provided undisclosed bridge financing to protective athletic gear provider EvoShield, which was recently acquired by Amer Sports.
The previous headline of this news report misstated the name of the professional baseball association. It has since been corrected.
NEW YORK, Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — An All-Star line-up of retired baseball greats today announced the creation of Dugout Ventures, a private equity group with its core focus on supporting and fostering baseball specific companies and initiatives to help advance America’s favorite pastime. David Ortiz, Barry Larkin, Nolan Ryan, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are among the group’s lead investors, and will be instrumental in both the operations and investment decisions of the company.
Dugout Ventures was created to leverage the baseball knowledge and expertise of current and former players to support some of the best brands and companies within the sport.
In July of 2016, although still in its infancy, Dugout Ventures quickly assembled to provide bridge financing to EvoShield, the official protective gear of MLB. Staying true to the group’s core mission of protecting brands which protect the game – Dugout Ventures was instrumental in providing financial support to EvoShield and successfully transitioning the brand over to Amer Sports, who purchased the company a few weeks back.
Shortly after providing the bridge financing to EvoShield, the group made its next major investment. Dugout Ventures is now the largest investor in Marucci Sports, the leading bat company in MLB. Marucci, like EvoShield, is a favorite among current players and is the market leader in Major League Baseball.
“Marucci makes the best bat in baseball. Finding the best products is easy for us,” claims David Ortiz. “But like Warren Buffet says, ‘it’s not what you know, but how realistic you are about what you don’t know.’ We know baseball. But we plan on finding the best people in the business to help us on what we don’t know.”
In addition to Dugout Ventures’ focus on investments which will help foster the game – the company also provides young players an opportunity to learn about the business side of baseball from players who have gone before them. Dugout Ventures will be welcoming other current and former professional players to join this exclusive group as well.
“The baseball fraternity is one of the strongest fraternities in the world,” says Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. “Players are faced with some unique challenges that don’t necessarily help to develop skills they will have to use later on in life. We hope to be able to help guide our fraternity brothers in business making the transition from player to ex-player seamless.”
Dugout Ventures is the first of its kind. Where players not only endorse, but also invest and build the brands and products they use. And do so in a business environment being led by some of the most influential players not only on the field, but also in their post-playing business careers.
Nolan Ryan, for instance, is one of the most successful players turned businessman in the history of the game. Not only did he transition from his playing career to an owner of the Texas Rangers in 2010, but has also enjoyed success in ranching, a beef company that bears his name (Nolan Ryan Beef), banking (Rbank) and several other sports and entertainment ventures including the Triple-A Round Rock Express.
“The game of baseball has provided many opportunities for our family,” Ryan said. “We’re excited to be part of this venture that we think will continue to improve the game and provide opportunities for the next generation.”
In addition to the primary group made up of players, Dugout Ventures is also announcing its first $50MM LP fund, where accredited investors can invest alongside the players. The fund is taking advantage of the new 506(c) regulations to announce this investment opportunity publicly through their website and social media.
About Dugout Ventures
Dugout Ventures is dedicated to advancing the game of baseball for the next generation of players and fans. We understand the game and its athletes because we have dedicated our lives to learning its intricacies both on and off the field. We are committed to honoring the game’s heritage while building the brands and products that will define its future. Dugout Ventures brings nearly a century of athletic performance and knowledge together with a network of players and business professionals that span every facet of the game. We believe that by bringing value and high-level performance to both athletes and investors, we can move the game forward. For more information visit: www.dugoutventures.com; @DugoutVentures