Jimmy Lee Solomon at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California on July 8, 2007.
Abundant pilling | Major League Baseball | Getty Images
Former top manager of Major League Baseball, Jimmie Lee Solomon, is joining Playrs, an operating company under the private holding company Turn2 Equity Partners.
Solomon will serve as Playrs President. He said the group is aiming to raise $ 25 million to $ 30 million to buy start-up sports companies that are out of capital due to Covid-19.
"I think with the talent we have on our development team we will do it easily," said Solomon of the increase. The Turn2 group also includes Dusty Baker, manager of Houston Astros, Jim Duquette, former general manager of New York Mets, and Bobby Evans, general manager of the San Francisco Giants.
Solomon spent 21 years at MLB under former Commissioner Bud Selig and was primarily responsible for the operation and development of baseball. He left the league in 2012.
It provided the framework for MLB's first instant playback system in 2008. Solomon was also behind the decision to air the league's draft on MLB.com before ESPN acquired the rights to air the event in 2007.
In addition to helping set up MLB's Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California, Solomon advised Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson when he decided to pursue the National Football League through MLB.
Wilson referred to Solomon as a "confidante and mentor" in an email to CNBC.
"But I'm not alone either," wrote Wilson. "Regardless of celebrity or stature, Jimmie Lee has dedicated his life to creating opportunity for athletes of all levels."
According to Solomon, Turn2 is looking for technology companies that "play sports" in the media and entertainment sectors.
"We want to make sure they fall into our vision," said Solomon, adding that the company is negotiating with several performance and entertainment companies.
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker reacts prior to a Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox on March 5, 2020 at jetBlue Park on Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida.
Billie Weiss / Boston Red Sox | Getty Images
Solomon said Playrs could enable current and former MLB players to grow their brand, and indicated that they would target the amateur sports scene through acquisitions of video sharing and data cloud companies.
"There are things in this new normal that we are going to live, especially after Covid-19, that you need to deliver," Solomon added. "The fan's appetite will continue to evolve and we need to be able to satisfy that appetite."
MLBs fighting minor league baseball
Solomon also shared his thoughts on MLB's battle with minor league baseball. In 2011, Solomon helped develop the current Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL). The deal expires on September 30th.
MLB wants to take control of the minor league teams and realign the clubs to cut costs and reduce the number of affiliates from 160 to 120. According to the Associated Press, the current PBA would also turn into a licensing deal.
"We've been here before," said Solomon, referring to previous disputes between MLB and NAPBL, the governing body of the minor league teams. "You just go forward, take a risk, make some suggestions, and see if it resonates or not."