MFP Real Estate, LLC, an East Coast-based team of investors, is excited about the agreement it has reached to purchase the Nashville Sounds baseball team and looks forward to the opportunity to deliver a much improved baseball experience to fans. Next steps toward assuming control of the team include an extensive application and background check process and an approval perhaps as soon as December, during baseball’s annual winter meetings, MFP partner Frank Ward said. The group also must ask Metro Government to renew a lease of Greer Stadium to the team. “We are very excited,” Ward said of himself and partners Masahiro Honzawa and Steve Posner. “We will begin immediately reaching out to the community and letting folks know that we are serious about improving the Nashville baseball experience. I personally plan to have a house here and spend much of the year in Nashville. We will be very visible in Nashville and at the games and will be accountable to our fans,” Ward said. The trio of investors brings both business know-how and a love of sports to the Nashville sports landscape:
Ward is a successful real estate manager and investor who has spent many years working for and with the Honzawa family on New York transactions. He is a baseball fan who has taken part in rotisserie baseball leagues for 25 years, and is an avid baseball card collector. He said he became interested in the Nashville community after frequent visits to see one of his four children, who is now a junior at Vanderbilt University.
Honzawa, a native of Japan, has had extensive experience with New York real estate investments. His education includes an MBA from Columbia University.He sold his interest in the family-owned business and co-founded MFP with Posner and Ward early this year.
Posner is a certified public accountant and attorney, a former Arthur Andersen partner, and a noted tax adviser. His real estate experience includes office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, condominiums and apartments. His experience with baseball includes everything from selling hotdogs and soft drinks as a teen at Yankee and Shea stadiums, to serving as a financial and tax consultant to the New York Mets for many years. Posner’s other former sports-related clients include the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Class-A minor league baseball franchise, and SportsNet New York, a regional sports network.
“We know we face many challenges,” Ward said. “Assuming the city is agreeable to having us lease the stadium, we will begin renovations aimed at making it more user friendly. We obviously would be interested at some point in reopening discussions of a downtown stadium site, but our priorities are to gain baseball regulatory approval and then upgrade Greer so that it is comfortable for Sounds fans next season.”
The Nashville Sounds began in 1978 as a Double-A franchise for the Cincinnati Reds. The team has played at Greer Stadium since its inception, and has served as a minor league franchise for several major league teams, most recently as the Triple-A franchise for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Posner, Ward and Honzawa said they are working with and will continue to hire Nashville professionals to oversee accounting, banking, legal and other services that will serve the baseball operation. “Like many of today’s Nashvillians, the three of us didn’t grow up here,” Ward said. “But we are eager to be a part of the community. We are very excited.”