D-BAT Baseball Academies Expand to China

D-BAT Vice President Kyle Griffis and Douglas Sports & Culture President Aijun Ning sign a franchise agreement, flanked by D-BAT CEO Cade Griffis and Douglas Sports & Culture Vice President Weitao Ji, on March 31, 2017.

CARROLLTON, Texas — There are 40 D-BAT baseball academies across the United States, with the domestic territory rights sold for 22 more. Now the company has a deal in place to open the first D-BAT locations overseas.

On March 31, D-BAT CEO Cade Griffis and Vice President Kyle Griffis signed a franchise agreement with Douglas Sports & Culture President Aijun Ning and Vice President Weitao Ji. Beijing-based Douglas Sports & Culture plans to open 10 D-BAT locations in China, where the coaches will be Americans hired and trained stateside by D-BAT (an acronym for “Developing Beliefs, Attitudes and Traditions”).

“We think President Donald Trump is going to like D-BAT China,” Ji said, “because we are buying American and hiring American.”

Cade Griffis said he and his team have successfully growing for five years and are always looking for new opportunities. “We believe that China represents a significant untapped market with potential for significant growth,” he said.

In January, the Douglas executives were visiting California and happened upon the opening of the D-BAT academy in Temecula. Ning and Ji were immediately impressed.

“It looked like an elegant, high-level facility,” Ji said. “We were also attracted to the number of kids who were there, from age 6 to 18.”

The deal with D-BAT takes Douglas Sports & Culture into a third athletic arena. The company has similar franchise arrangements with United States Basketball Academy, based in Oregon, and a soccer academy based in Spain.

“When we saw D-BAT, we knew this was what we wanted,” Ji said. “The logos, the layout, the décor were all unified. That’s what we need. You know, we don’t want to do just some simple thing and hire random coaches to come to China. That’s not our way.”

The Griffises are excited about the opportunity to turn D-BAT into a global brand.

“While working on the China deal, I had to keep reminding myself that sometimes whatever makes you uncomfortable is the biggest opportunity for growth,” Cade Griffis said. “Growth is also about finding the next big trick up your sleeve, and I think we just pulled a Houdini.”

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