COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE CHANGES HANDS, LEXINGTON COUNTY BLOWFISH PRAISE NEW OWNERS
Bill Shanahan calls purchase “Quite a positive step for the CPL”
An offseason of exciting change continues for the Coastal Plain League and the Lexington County Blowfish.
On Wednesday, Capitol Broadcasting Company announced plans to acquire and operate the summer collegiate baseball league, of which the Blowfish are a member, from the Petitt Family.
The Petitts — whom the league’s championship trophy, the Petitt Cup, is named after — have owned and operated the now 13-team league since 1997.
Bill Shanahan — co-owner of the Blowfish, which earlier this week announced the hiring of the club’s first permanent general manager since 2019 — was upbeat about the move.
“This has been in the works for a while and quite a positive step for the CPL bringing the experience and knowledge of sports marketing and management that a company like Capitol Broadcasting Company could provide to take the CPL to the next level,” he told the Chronicle.
Shanahan said he believes CBC has shown through its ownership and operation of stations and baseball teams will help bring more opportunities for the league teams. He expects CBC and current CPL Commissioner Justin Sellers will work together to “develop a vision for both on and off the field success through areas, including marking, sponsorships, team facilities, concessions, level of play and more.”
“Justin Sellers will continue in his role of Commissioner of the Coastal Plain League,” Shanahan added. “CBC’s focus will be on reinforcing the league’s strength in its current footprint in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, thereby creating more regional competition while reducing travel for our teams.”
The purchase comes on the heels of two-time CPL champion Savannah Bananas announcing its departure after winning this year’s league title in August. The team will now become a full-time professional barnstorming team.
“We’re very excited about adding the Coastal Plain League to CBC’s growing baseball division,” Capitol Broadcasting Company Executive Vice President Michael Goodmon is quoted in a press release. “The CPL has continued to grow in terms of the quality of the game on the field and the experience in the stands. With its small-town baseball atmosphere, experienced and passionate team owners, and storied history, we are honored for the Petitt family to entrust us with this important asset. Simply put, we cannot wait to help the league continue to grow in the future.”
As owners of the Holly Springs Salamanders since 2017 — along with 12 television stations around North Carolina and the N.C. minor league team the Durham Bulls (which was featured in the film Bull Durham) — CBC already had a stake in the league. In addition, current CBC chairperson and CEO Jim Goodman is the paternal grandson of former CPL President Ray Goodman.
“It is a rare opportunity to combine the legacy of a family with growing a business you love,” the younger Goodman is quoted. “With the sport of baseball, and the CPL specifically, our passion is only fortified with the acquisition and the deep connection it brings with it.”
“Our family believes that CBC, with its long history in baseball and strong reputation throughout the sports industry, is uniquely positioned to lead the CPL into the future,” CPL CEO Jerry Petitt is quoted. “CBC’s ownership will benefit our individual teams as we continue to provide excellent baseball and family-friendly entertainment. We could not ask for a better partner to expand upon the legacy of the CPL.”
lexington county blowfish, coastal plain league, Capitol Broadcasting Company, bill Shanahan
About Capitol Broadcasting Company:
Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. is a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV, WRAZ-TV, WRAL-FM, WRAL-HD2, WNGT-CD, WCMC-FM, WCMC-HD1, WDNC-AM, WCMC-HD2, WCMC-HD3, WCLY-AM, WCMC-HD4, Microspace, WRAL Digital and Wolfpack Sports Properties (a joint venture with Learfield) in Raleigh, NC; WILM-TV, WILT-LD and Sunrise Broadcasting in Wilmington, NC; The Durham Bulls Baseball Club, Bull City Hospitality, the American Underground startup hub in Durham, NC; and real estate interests including the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, NC, and Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, NC.