Travelers Baseball Club Powered by Unique Ownership Structure

Travelers Baseball Club Powered by Unique Ownership Structure

In most cases, the ownership of minor league baseball teams is similar to that found in the major league: A business entity or an individual will own the team, perhaps one of several in an ownership group.

The Arkansas Travelers are unusual in that they are owned by their fans through Arkansas Travelers Inc., which was formed in 1960 during a public stock drive that allowed the group to buy the bankrupt New Orleans franchise and bring a team back to Arkansas after a one-year absence.

The original Travelers, performing poorly on the field and at the gate, had been sold to a Shreveport interest.

Fans bought in at $5 per share and the share value has not changed. A recent audit shows there are 15,229 outstanding shares (many of the shares are passed down through families), with an additional 22 treasury shares.

The Travelers have a board of directors, currently 15 members, and a six-person executive committee headed by team President Russ Meeks.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals, who moved from Wichita, Kan., to Springdale in 2008, operate under the more common ownership model.

Frozen food maker Rich Products Corp. has owned the Naturals since the team was located in Wichita and also owns the Class AAA Buffalo (N.Y.) Bisons of the International League and the Jamestown (Pa.) Jammers of the Class A New York-Penn League.