Lucchino group confirms purchase of Pawtucket Red Sox

A group of New England business leaders confirmed Monday that it has purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox from the Mondor family and other interests with the intention of moving the team to Providence.

A news release said the group is led by Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, who will be chairman, and James Skeffington, who will be president. All of the current PawSox front office members will retain their roles with the club under the new ownership.

Skeffington said the group is eyeing land along the Providence River for a new ballpark, which he also hopes will host concerts, community events and collegiate sports.

"We think an urban ballpark is going to be a great success and add visibility to the life of Providence and the state of Rhode Island," Skeffington said.

The new owners said making improvements to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket would be expensive and that it is from a different era. The stadium was built in 1942 and renovated in the late 1990s.

"Maintaining local ownership of the Red Sox' AAA affiliate is important for Rhode Island, and I commend and congratulate the new owners on their efforts to keep the team in our state," said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. "The prospect of moving the team to Providence represents a significant and exciting development opportunity for our capital city. I look forward to working with the new ownership team and all stakeholders to explore this possibility."

Skeffington said the PawSox will play at least two more seasons in Pawtucket. He said he'd like the team to become the Rhode Island Red Sox.

The Pawtucket Red Sox have been affiliated with the Boston Red Sox since the minor league team was formed in 1970.

"The franchise has played key roles in the Red Sox' historic success, both as a player development affiliate and as a Rhode Island home for affordable family entertainment. We seek to enhance those roles, and to honor the substantial contributions that Ben Mondor and his loyal team have made to this community for generations," Lucchino said.

Mondor began a new era for the team in 1977 after its predecessor went bankrupt at the end of the previous season. He's credited with building the PawSox into a family-friendly summertime institution.

The sale amount was not disclosed. The group said the sale was approved by the Triple-A International League, the National Association of Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball.

The additional members of the ownership group are Bernard Cammarata, chairman of TJX Cos.; William Egan, founder and general partner of Alta Communications and Marion Equity Partners; Fenway Sports Management; Habib Gorgi, managing director of Nautic Partners LLC; Terry Murray, former chairman, president and CEO of Fleet National Bank; Arthur Nicholas, partner, Boston Red Sox; Frank Resnek, partner, Boston Red Sox; and Thomas Ryan, former chairman, president and CEO of CVS Caremark.

Lucchino will continue in his role as president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox.

The team will play opening day, April 16, in Pawtucket.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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