Chuck Greenberg (businessman)

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Charles M. "Chuck" Greenberg (born in Englewood, New Jersey, 1961) is an American sports attorney and chairman and founder of the Greenberg Sports Group. Greenberg was managing partner of Rangers Baseball Express, LLC, which on August 5, 2010, won court approval to purchase the Texas Rangers, a Major League Baseball team, from Tom Hicks and Hicks Sports Group. Greenberg served as managing partner and CEO of the Rangers, while former baseball great Nolan Ryan continues in his role as team president. The Dallas Observer said in April 2010 that Greenberg “has the money and moxie to lead the Texas Rangers back to relevancy and into the playoffs.” [1]

On March 11, 2011, Greenberg announced that he was stepping down as managing partner and chief executive officer of the Texas Rangers and that he will be selling his interest in the Rangers and will no longer be associated with the franchise. Club president Nolan Ryan will assume the title of CEO and oversee all aspects of the Rangers operations on both the baseball and the business side.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Greenberg was born in Englewood, New Jersey, but his family moved to Pittsburgh before his first birthday. He is one of three sons of David and Barbara Greenberg. He graduated from Upper St. Clair High School in Pittsburgh in 1978 and went on to enroll at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

While at Tufts, Greenberg majored in political science and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in 1982. From there he went onto the University of Michigan Law School, where he received his juris doctor in 1985.

Early career[edit]

After law school, Greenberg began his law career in his hometown of Pittsburgh, as an associate and then partner at Cohen & Grigsby P.C., where he practiced for 13 years. In 1998, he joined Pepper Hamilton LLP as a corporate and sports attorney and a partner in the Pennsylvania-based law firm.[4] While at Pepper Hamilton, Greenberg headed the firm's sports practice and was a member of its Executive Committee from 2002 to 2008.

Among his most prominent work as a sports industry attorney, Greenberg was instrumental in a deal that landed NHL Hall of Famer, Mario Lemieux,[5] ownership of the then-bankrupt Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team in 1999.[6] The deal is credited with saving the franchise for the city and Western Pennsylvania.[7] In 2007, Greenberg again represented Lemieux and the Penguins in successful negotiations with the state, the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County which resulted in a deal to build the brand-new, state-of-the-art Consol Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh and secured the future of the Penguins in Pittsburgh for another 30 years.

Sports franchises ownership[edit]

Beginning in 2002, Greenberg formed and led an ownership group that purchased the Double-A Eastern League's Altoona Curve,[8] a minor league baseball team in Pennsylvania. For six years (2002–2008), Greenberg acted as managing partner and president of the team. He is credited with helping the organization set fan attendance records[9] while continually re-investing money to improve the Blair County Ballpark, which resulted in national recognition of the franchise as one of the most innovative teams in professional sports.[10] Due in part to Greenberg's contributions to the baseball industry and the local community, the organization was awarded the John H. Johnson Presidents Trophy in December 2006, given to the top franchise in all of Minor League Baseball for overall quality and performance.[11] During Greenberg's tenure as managing partner and president, the franchise won several other awards, including the Larry MacPhail Award, presented in December 2004 by the Minor League Baseball association as the top franchise in all of Minor League Baseball for marketing, promotions, and community service[12] and the Freitas Award in November 2006, awarded by Baseball America as the top Class AA franchise in Minor League Baseball.[13] Greenberg was also a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 as a finalist in the Western Pennsylvania and New York Region for ownership and management of Altoona Curve and State College Spikes. Greenberg and his ownership group (Curve Baseball LP) sold the team to the Robert F. Lozinak family in 2008.[14]

While continuing to manage and operate the Altoona Curve, Greenberg and his investment group also purchased the former New Jersey Cardinals. He immediately relocated the franchise to State College, Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Penn State University. Greenberg worked with the university to create the area's first-ever professional sports franchise, the State College Spikes, which began play in the New York-Penn League in 2006. Greenberg’s hard work associated with the unique relationship between the Spikes and the university has become a model in the industry for facilities,[15] shared by a major university and a professional sports franchise. Medlar Field at Lubrano Park was the first ballpark in America LEED-certified for leadership in environmental and energy design.[16]

Greenberg took over as president and managing partner of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in June 2006 when he and a group of investors purchased the Minor League Baseball team.[17] Greenberg worked to enhance BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, making it one of the most fan-friendly venues in Minor League Baseball.[18] Greenberg and his group of investors spent $2.5 million to enhance the Pelicans' ballpark including the installation of a state-of-the-art, 550-square-foot (51 m2) video board, a new Outfield Reserved Bleacher Seating section,[19] and the opening of Pelican’s Beach, dubbed "the only baseball-front beach in America". As part of a stadium redesign, the franchise moved the visitor's bullpen from beyond left field to beside a dugout, and set up 500-seat bleachers in its place. The Major League-quality video board is the largest in the Carolina League and ranks among the largest in all of Minor League Baseball, while the outfield seating is unique within the Carolina League. The Pelicans also reached several attendance milestones, including setting the team's all-time franchise attendance record in 2008[20] and the all-time average attendance record in 2009.[21]

Texas Rangers[edit]

Rangers Baseball Express, led by Greenberg and including former baseball great Nolan Ryan, won an auction to purchase the Texas Rangers on August 5, 2010, after hours of courtroom bidding. Greenberg described it as "a painful process ... it dispelled any notion that we haven't earned our way. We will deliver on our promises. And we want to deliver a championship."[22]

The two parties bidding for the franchise were the Ryan/Greenberg group and a group led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane. Hours of delays and bidding resulted in a final sale price of $593 million, $385 million cash and $208 million in assumed liabilities.[23]

Rangers Baseball Express, LLC, had earlier signed a definitive agreement to purchase the Texas Rangers team from Tom Hicks and Hicks Sports Group on January 23, 2010.[24]

Greenberg will serve as managing partner and CEO of the Rangers, while Ryan continues in his role as team president. Greenberg’s vision for the team includes both a dedication to being the best at every aspect of the operation and a focus on creating a highly entertaining fan experience at the ballpark. Greenberg said, “[W]e’re here to win. We love baseball. We have an unbelievably deep emotional attachment to the Rangers and Rangers’ fans. We’re going to do everything we can to win.” [25]

Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels has praised Greenberg for his personal connection to the fans, noting "He's just a normal guy. Jeans and T-shirts. He's really in tune with fans and knows how to have his finger on the pulse of what they want. He's very impressive. He wants revenue, make no mistake about that. But above and beyond that comes winning." [1]

During the 2010 World Series Greenberg, as a guest on a local ESPN radio show, Ben and Skin, made negative comments about the New York Yankees fans during the ALCS.

Greenberg would later apologize publicly and to Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine of the New York Yankees.[26] The comments made by Greenberg followed an incident in Game 3 of the ALCS when Kristen Lee, wife of Texas Ranger pitcher Cliff Lee, told the media about the treatment her and other players' wives received by fans at New Yankee Stadium.[27] Misty May, wife of backup catcher Matt Treanor, posted pictures on her Facebook page of Yankee fans spitting from the upper deck down into the section where Ranger's family were sitting.

On March 11, 2011, Greenberg announced that he is stepping down as managing partner and chief executive officer. He is also selling his interest in the Rangers and will no longer be associated with the franchise. Club president Nolan Ryan will assume the title of CEO and oversee all aspects of the Rangers operations on both the baseball and the business side.[2][3]

Other sports interests[edit]

In October 2008, Greenberg founded Greenberg Sports Group. The company provides management, consulting and marketing services to the sports industry. In 2008, he was elected to the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees, which has exclusive power to determine policies and enact rules and regulations for Minor League Baseball. Greenberg also was named to the Sports Business Research Advisory Board at Penn State University, representing team owners in the work of the Center for Sports Business Research. He also serves on the board of directors of the Mario Lemieux Foundation (1994–present), the board of directors for the Carolina League (2006–present) and the board of directors for the Baseball Interactive Rights Company (2008–present).

As of 2012 he was co-managing partner for the minor league State College Spikes.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Chuck and his wife Jennifer have been married for 25 years and have three boys; Jeff (24), Jack (22) and Ben (20). Jeff graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2008 and is currently attending Columbia University Law School in New York. Jack is a senior at Penn State University, where he is a member of the Nittany Lions baseball team and a political science major. Ben is a sophomore at Ohio University, where he is studying business and sports management. Greenberg has had a long-time association with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. When they lived in Pittsburgh, the two were neighbors, and both attended the Temple Emanuel synagogue. Cuban said that Greenberg “puts the fan first, and he likes to make sure they have fun. I think he is going to be great for the Rangers, and I have told him I am happy to help in any way I can.” Cuban has joked that there is one great difference between the two though: "He is a lawyer. As my daughter would say, 'Ewwww.'"[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Whitt, Richie “Would-Be Owner Chuck Greenberg has the Money and Moxie to Lead the Texas Rangers Back to Relevancy and into the Playoffs”, “The Dallas Observer,” Dallas, April 1, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Wilson, Jeff “Myrtle Beach Pelicans owner Greenberg to resign as Texas Rangers CEO”, “The Sun News,” Myrtle Beach, March 11, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Sullivan, T.R “Greenberg leaves Rangers; Ryan named CEO”, “Major League Baseball website,” SURPRISE, Ariz. , March 11, 2010.
  4. ^ Philadelphia, Pa. - April 6, 2005 - LAWFUEL - The Law News Network. Lawfuel. Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  5. ^ Heath, Thomas “On Thin Ice, Penguins Saved”, “The Washington Post”, Washington, October 7, 1999.
  6. ^ “Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg's group picked to buy Texas Rangers”, “Pittsburgh Business Times”, Pittsburgh, December 16, 2009.
  7. ^ LaPointe, Joe, “Lemieux Is Trying to Save the Bankrupt Penguins”, “The New York Times”, New York, March 14, 1999.
  8. ^ Elliott, Suzanne, “Attorney Chuck Greenberg becomes baseball mogul”, “Pittsburgh Business Times,” February 1, 2002.
  9. ^ Curve and Pirates announce extension of player development contract through 2010 season | pirates.com: Official Info. Pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com. Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Mihoces, Gary (August 8, 2002). "Curve shape a region's heart". USA Today. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  11. ^ Article | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball. Web.minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  12. ^ Pelicans Nominated For Prestigious Minor League Baseball Honor - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News. OurSports Central (October 23, 2007). Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  13. ^ Braves Deal Former Pelican To Seattle - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News. OurSports Central (December 7, 2006). Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  14. ^ Curve Baseball LP announces sale of Altoona Curve to Lozinak family - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News. OurSports Central. Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  15. ^ Ross, Sam, “Minor-league park has big-league feel”, “Tribune-Review,” Pittsburgh, Thursday, June 8, 2006.
  16. ^ Yoders, Jeff “Penn State wins race for first LEED-certified stadium”,“Building Design & Construction,” Pittsburgh, September 1, 2007.
  17. ^ The Official Site of The Myrtle Beach Pelicans | myrtlebeachpelicans.com Homepage. Myrtlebeachpelicans.com (July 19, 2013). Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  18. ^ Pelicans Attendance Soars In 2008, Third Largest In Franchise History - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News. OurSports Central. Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  19. ^ Leventhal, Josh. (September 28, 2007) Minors: Season Recap: Minors Set Another Attendance Record. BaseballAmerica.com. Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  20. ^ The Official Site of The Myrtle Beach Pelicans | myrtlebeachpelicans.com Homepage. Myrtlebeachpelicans.com (July 19, 2013). Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ “A priceless pursuit of bankrupt Rangers for Greenburg, Ryan”, “USA Today,” Fort Worth, Texas, August 8, 2010.
  23. ^ “Greenberg/Ryan win Texas Rangers auction”, “Reuters,” Wilmington, Delaware, August 5, 2010.
  24. ^ Durrett, Richard. "Hicks Sports Group: Deal in place to purchase Texas Rangers – ESPN Dallas". sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  25. ^ “Chuck Greenberg: 'We think the future is really, really bright and we're going to be aggressive in building on that future'”, “The Dallas Morning News,” Dallas, August 6, 2010.
  26. ^ (uncredited) (November 2, 2010). "New York writer: Some truth to Chuck Greenberg's comments about Yankee fans". Dallasnews.com Sports Day. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Cliff Lee Wife Kristen Lee Yankee Fan Sneer: Bye-bye Recruitment?". Politiktimes. October 26, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  28. ^ Pirates part ways with State College affiliate - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Post-gazette.com (September 18, 2012). Retrieved on July 23, 2013.

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