Alan Ledford says he's addicted to baseball, but not as a player on the field or even a spectator in the stands.
"I was always a sports fan, but I was never a very good athlete," said the 50-year-old Ledford, president of El Paso's MountainStar Sports Group.
"What led me to the sports business was a combination of that affinity for the experience of sports, but also an interest in business," he said. "The combination represented an ideal match for me."
In his role with MountainStar Sports, the group that now owns the Triple-A minor league Tucson Padres baseball team, Ledford oversees the day-to-day work in relocating the franchise to El Paso, including creating a sales, marketing and advertising plan.
MountainStar hired Ledford as its president last year after he helped acquire the team for El Paso. MountainStar will lease the city's new ballpark from the city when it opens in 2014.
The local investment group learned about Ledford through Barrett Sports Group, a consulting firm that was helping in its efforts to purchase the team.
Ledford is principal owner of Perfect Game Ventures, a consulting firm that specializes in sports and entertainment and minor league baseball team management.
"It took one look at (Ledford's) resume to know he was the right man to help us navigate the process to gain all the necessary approvals needed to get a Triple-A team to El Paso," said Josh Hunt, one of the MountainStar partners. "He has extensive
experience, credibility, and extremely valuable relationships with leadership from Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and the Pacific Coast League."
Ledford's experience includes nine years with the Sacramento River Cats, where he worked as president, general manager and chief operating officer.
He also was executive vice president with MGO Marketing Group out of Lafayette, Calif., where he created business plans for venues and franchises such as the River Cats, the Albuquerque Isotopes and the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.
Before that, Ledford worked with the Oakland A's for 14 years, last working as the vice president of business operations responsible for team business activities, including sales, marketing, merchandising and in-stadium entertainment.
From Ukiah to El Paso
He grew up in Ukiah, Calif., northwest of Sacramento, in a farming family, which he said was "where you learn to work and work hard."
He graduated with a business degree from the University of California at Berkley.
With "persistence, good timing and a little bit of luck thrown in," Ledford said, he turned an internship with the Oakland A's into a long-term job, launching a career that combined his fondness of sports and his business savvy.
During his time with the River Cats, he helped in the acquisition, turnaround and ultimately the sale of the Portland Beavers, which became the Tucson Padres and is now El Paso's team.
Part of the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Conference, the team will play in Tucson for the 2013 season, which will begin in April. The conference and division in which the El Paso team will play will be determined later by the league.
In the meantime, Ledford has been more than busy behind the scenes.
He still lives in the Bay Area in California and commutes to El Paso frequently. And during the past few months, he has traveled across the country with Hunt and other MountainStar investors touring ballparks to study what has worked, what hasn't and what ideas may work in El Paso.
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