Tampa Bay Rays sell their stake in UFL Tuskers

The Tampa Bay Rays made a big splash last year when they purchased 50% of the Florida Tuskers United Football League franchise. The Rays were looking for another tenant for their baseball stadium. While the UFL was hoping that a Rays ownership stake would bring the new team and league some extra attention. Less than a year later the Rays have sold their stake in the team back to the UFL and this may be a strong indication of what people think of the UFL product, and what is going on in the Tampa Bay sports market.

The simple fact here is the Rays want a tenant for their stadium that can bring in a crowd, and right now that is not the UFL. While the reported attendance for the UFL game held in the Rays stadium was 11,354, the actual attendance was a lot less than that. So The Tuskers will move permanently back to Orlando, Florida and the Citrus Bowl. No matter how the league tires to spin this, this is very bad news. It will be hard to attract new investors when the old ones are dropping out after only one year.

While we can question the idea of trying to launch a team in multiple venues, it seems that the Tuskers will do better playing all their games at one facility. The Citrus Bowl was also the home of the biggest crowd to see the Tuskers play a home game, and Orlando has the added benefit of not having a NFL team to compete with.

Now the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area has just under 3 million residents, and that sports market is full with NHL, MLB, and NFL teams on top of several other minor league sports either in active participation or getting ready to launch. It seems that this market is tapped out and there was no room for the Tuskers there. In fact several of these team already struggle to draw big crowds.

Related Links:

Florida Tuskers news and notes
The Business of the UFL