According to an article published by Forbes in October 2015, the sports industry is projected to be worth $73.5 billion by 2019. Numbers like these underscore the fact that, at its heart, sports is a business; and people can make or break their bank accounts off it.
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Fort Lauderdale Strikers' key assets sold for $5,100 at public auction
Key assets of the financially troubled soccer club Fort Lauderdale Strikers were sold Tuesday in a court-ordered online auction to one of the teams’ largest creditors: Tampa-area businessman Bill Edwards.
The winning bid: $5,100.
According to a public notice, the sale included the Strikers’ naming rights, trademarks, customer and vendor lists, and any remaining contracts. However, the sale excluded the team’s membership interest in the North American Soccer League.
Forced to sit out the 2017 North American Soccer League season due to mounting financial concerns, the Strikers owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Edwards.
According to filings in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Edwards and his company, Marketing Solution Publications, loaned $450,000 to the floundering club on July 6, 2016. The Strikers also borrowed an additional $80,000 on September 2, 2016, in order to make payroll for a match the following day.
Edwards, the owner of the United Soccer League’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, filed a lawsuit after Strikers’ ownership allegedly defaulted on both loans. The court ruled in his favor last month, handing down judgments on both loans — one for $293,513.36, and another for $81,888.26.
The ruling also called for a public foreclosure auction for the team, awarding the club’s collateral to the highest bidder. According to public auction records, the online sale was completed early Tuesday with Edwards and his group placing the winning bid.
It remains unclear what may happen next to the Strikers as a going concern. Edwards, his lawyer in the case and a public relations representative for Marketing Solution Publications did not respond to telephoned and emailed requests for comment.
Founded in 1977, the Strikers were members of the original North American Soccer League. After relocating to Minnesota in 1984, the club existed in various iterations until reforming in 2011.