When the Akron Aeros take the field next April to defend their 2012 Eastern League championship, they will have a new owner.
Ken Babby, formerly of Potomac, Maryland, and now a full-time resident of Akron, was formally introduced as the new Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Aeros during a news conference at Canal Park on Tuesday.
Babby's ownership vision is a two-fold mission. "I want to create a memorable, unique, affordable and enjoyable fan experience, and also maximize the opportunity to create change in the community through charitable, wellness and education initiatives. We have the ability to be difference-makers in Northeast Ohio, and we want to seize that challenge," conveyed Babby.
While integrating into the city and surrounding communities, Babby is also assembling his leadership and business team. Last week, he announced his first front-office hire when he announced Akron native Jim Pfander as the team's new general manager. Further administrative appointments are expected in the coming weeks.
The founder of Fast Forward Sports Group, Babby becomes only the second owner in the history of the Akron franchise. Following a lengthy approval process from three different levels of professional baseball, Babby completed his acquisition of the team from previous owners Mike and Greg Agganis on October 12, 2012.
Babby, 32, spent the last 13 years in various marketing positions with the Washington Post newspaper, and its online and social media counterpart, Washington Post Digital. After starting as a summer intern with the newspaper in 1999, Babby rose through the ranks, eventually attaining the position of Vice President of Advertising, and most recently, Chief Revenue Officer of Washington Post Media and General Manager of Washington Post Digital.
Although ownership of the Aeros is Babby's first foray into professional sports, he is no stranger to the sports world. His father, Lon Babby, is a former sports agent, who represented NBA players Tim Duncan, Ray Allen, Hedo Turkoglu, and Grant Hill. The elder Babby also served as the General Counsel for the Baltimore Orioles and is now the President of Basketball Operations for the Phoenix Suns.
The Aeros are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. In the just-completed 2012 season, the Aeros had the best regular-season record in all of Double-A baseball and won the Eastern League Championship for the fourth time in team history. The team will begin its 17th season in Akron on April 4, 2013, with a 6:05 pm game against the Binghamton Mets at Canal Park.