Year Inducted – 2018
Ken Babby became Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Akron RubberDucks, Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, in October 2012 when he purchased the then-named Akron Aeros.
Babby is the founder of Fast Forward Sports Group LLC, through which he additionally purchased the then-named Jacksonville Suns, Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, in September 2015, becoming the youngest multi-franchise owner in professional sports. Following the 2016 season, the Suns started a new identity as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
Akron RubberDucks baseball has taken flight under Babby. In five seasons, the franchise’s second-ever owner has invested more than $7 million into Akron’s Canal Park, which includes one of the largest HD video board in the minor leagues, and attendance has increased by 28 percent.
Following a successful identity change after the 2013 season that focused on Akron’s history as the “Rubber Capital of the World,” the team went on to win Minor League Baseball’s prestigious Larry MacPhail Award as the top promotional team in 2015. The 2016 was packed with honors for the RubberDucks, including an Eastern League championship, the franchise hosting the Eastern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby for the first time, and the club’s nomination for the John H. Johnson President’s Award, which honors Minor League Baseball’s “most complete franchise.”
Babby, 38, is a Potomac, Maryland, native who spent 13 years with the Washington Post, rising to positions such as Vice President, Advertising, and Chief Revenue Officer of Washington Post Media and General Manager of Washington Post Digital.
In 2017, Babby was named to the Jacksonville Business Journal’s 40 under 40, and he was an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award winner in the Northeast Ohio region. He was named one of Sports Business Journal’s 2016 “Forty Under 40,” recognizing excellence and innovation in sports business careers. In 2015, Crain’s Cleveland Business also honored him as one of its local 2015 “Forty Under 40” awards. He serves as chair of the Baseball Internet Rights Company (BIRCO) and serves on numerous boards in Northeast Ohio including: Downtown Akron Partnership, Great Trail Boy Scouts Council, Greater Akron Chamber, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Positive Coaching Alliance, and Summa Foundation.
In describing his ownership vision, Babby elaborates on a two-fold mission. As the leader of the organization, he hopes 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.
Babby is an Akron resident and a visible presence at RubberDucks and Jumbo Shrimp games, as well in the local communities. Ken is married to wife, Liz, and he has a nine-year-old son, Josh.