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Rays punt share of UFL Tuskers



UPDATE, 10:24 WEDNESDAY: The UFL just released a statement confirming the sale, and saying the Rays/Sunburst made the first move:

" Following a decision by Sunburst Entertainment Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tampa Bay Rays, to sell its minority ownership interest in the franchise back to the League, the Tuskers will make Orlando their exclusive home.

“We are very grateful to Sunburst for their participation in the UFL’s ‘Premiere’ season,” said UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue. “Sunburst’s involvement with the Florida Tuskers brought needed awareness and stability to the franchise this first season and we are thankful for their involvement.  While Sunburst Entertainment was the face of the Tuskers’ ownership, there are several other companies and individuals who shared ownership so the overall operation and business structure of the team is unchanged.  We plan to introduce some new investors in the near future.”

The Rays are out of the pro football business.
The Rays have sold their minority ownership interest in the United Football League Florida Tuskers, who will now be based fulltime in Orlando after playing one game last year at Tropicana Field.

“The Tuskers had a very successful season, but introducing and establishing a team in two cities at the same time is challenging,’’ Rays senior vice president Michael Kalt said. “Sunburst (the Rays entertainment company)  and the UFL agreed it was in the best interest of the Tuskers to play fulltime in Orlando where the team can build the fan base it needs for long-term success.’’

The Tuskers on Tuesday hired Jay Gruden as coach to replace Jim Haslett, who was hired as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator.

The Rays, whose initial investment was reported to be less than $2-million, sold their share back to the league.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 11, 2010 12:15am]


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