While the Phoenix Coyotes continue to struggle to find a new owner, the Arizona Rattlers of the AFL had no such problem: Ron Shurts was announced to be the new majority owner of the franchise on Thursday.
Shurts is a local entrepreneur who co-founded The Annexus Group, which is based out of Scottsdale.
"Downtown Phoenix continues to grow and the Rattlers will be an integral part of the affordable, family-fun entertainment that the Suns and the Mercury are providing the local community," Shurts added.
This investment in the team's future is a great sign for the downtown scene. When an extremely successful entrepreneur makes a foray into sports, you know he sees great potential in getting a good return on his investment.
While the summer can be a slow time of year for Phoenix, when both the Diamondbacks and Rattlers are in town the revenue can be substantial for local businesses like Majerle's or Alice Cooper's Cooperstown.
The Rattlers are off to a great start in 2011 with a 7-1 record. Their next home game is on Saturday night against the Chicago Fire at the US Airways Center. The game begins at 7:00 PM.
It can't be a coincidence that with the new owner comes a new TV deal. For minor sports like this, teams have to pay to get on TV as opposed to the other way around for the big audience sports.
From the official press release:
FOX SPORTS ARIZONA & ARIZONA RATTLERS ANNOUNCE NEW TELEVISION PARTNERSHIP
Exciting Arena Football League action is set to make its return to FOX Sports Arizona as the network and the Arizona Rattlers announced a new television partnership today.
FOX Sports Arizona will televise five Rattlers games beginning with this Saturday's home match-up against the Chicago Rush. The Rattlers currently sit atop the Arena Football League's West Division with a 7-1 record and own a two-game lead over San Jose. In addition to Saturday's game, four more home telecasts against the likes of Cleveland, Iowa, San Jose and Spokane will be offered to the network's 2.5 million households in Arizona and New Mexico. One of the games will be a live telecast, while the others will air on a tape-delay basis due to the network's previous live programming commitments.
If the Rattlers qualify for the AFL Playoffs, FOX Sports Arizona would televise those games as well. The schedule would be announced at a later date.
For Saturday's telecast, FOX Sports Arizona's Mark McClune and John Fina will call the action and after that, the play-by-play announcer role will rotate between McClune and Brad Steinke, while Adam Archuleta will be the analyst. The Rattlers schedule on FOX Sports Arizona is as follows:
May 14: Chicago Rush/7:30 pm (delayed by 30 minutes following college baseball)
May 28: Cleveland Gladiators/7:00 pm (live)
June 12: Iowa Barnstormers/3:30 pm (delay telecast of June 11 game)
June 20: San Jose SaberCats/8:00 pm (delay telecast of June 18 game)
July 3: Spokane Shock/4:30 pm (delay telecast of July 2 game)