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Movie company sets its sights on owning Suns

December 06, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

If a proposed agreement is approved, the Hagerstown Suns will be owned by a Los Angeles-based company whose chairman is the producer of movies such as "Witches of Eastwick," "Batman," "Flashdance" and "Rain Man," among others.

Hollywood producer Peter Guber is chairman of Mandalay Sports Entertainment, which was created in 1996.

Hagerstown Suns General Manager Kurt Landes and current Suns owner Andrew Rayburn said the company has an excellent reputation.

The company owns:

  • The Dayton Dragons, an Ohio team that first took the field in the 2000 baseball season as the Class A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Former basketball star Magic Johnson is a part-owner of the team.

  • The Las Vegas 51s, a Class AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 51s, formerly the Las Vegas Stars, will play their 18th season of baseball in Las Vegas this spring.

  • The Frisco Rough Riders, a new team coming to Frisco, Texas, in April 2003. The team is a Class AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers.


The Suns would be the company's fourth team, Mandalay spokesman Kevin Mortesen said.

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The company wanted to expand its portfolio by purchasing a team in the South Atlantic League, he said.

In addition to its sport holdings, the company makes television, video and movie productions as well as other work.

Two of the company's four owners, Guber and Paul Schaeffer, are entertainment executives. Guber is former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Schaeffer was executive vice-president of the company.

They joined forces with Hank and Ken Stickney, who owned the Las Vegas Stars and the Las Vegas Thunder, an International Hockey League team.

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