Sampras Gives Up Tennis for Baseball
02/08/06 - Golden Baseball League (GBL) Long Beach Armada
(Pleasanton, CA. February 8, 2006)
The Golden Baseball League today announced that Gus Sampras
has been hired as the new General Manager of the Long Beach Armada. Sampras, an executive with the sports marketing firm IMG, replaces former Los Angeles Dodger Marketing Vice-President Barry Stockhamer who retired at the end of last season after fulfilling his one-year commitment to launch the new professional baseball team.
"Gus is a great addition for the league and for the Long Beach Armada," said Amit Patel, President of the Golden Baseball League. "He's a proven sports marketing executive, has lived and worked his entire life in and close to Long Beach, and is exceptional at developing business relationships and producing highly entertaining sporting events."
Sampras has worked in sports marketing for 17 years after graduating from California State University Long Beach with both an undergraduate degree and an M.B.A. His experience includes 12 years at International Management Group (IMG) where he was most recently Vice-President of IMG Tennis. At IMG his positions also included stints as Director of Professional Tennis Properties, Senior Account Executive, and Event Manager with projects as diverse as developing sponsorships for Olympic and Professional Volleyball, production of Kids' Day Program with the Cartoon Network, consulting with the University of Southern California in selling the naming rights to their basketball arena, and a myriad of charitable and community benefit programs involving IMG athletes. In addition, since 1988, Gus has held the positions of Business Manager, Treasurer & Secretary of Pistol Pete, Inc. which manages the business activities of tennis professional Pete Sampras.
"I'm excited to be part of this team and to be contributing to the quality of life for families in Long Beach," said Sampras. "Working with the coaching staff, including ex-major leaguers Darrell Evans and John Warden, I plan to bring lots of fun and good times at Blair Field along with a winning team to our fans."
The Long Beach Armada played their first season at Blair Field in 2005 as part of the new professional Golden Baseball League. The team was a success both on the field and with fans, as the Armada averaged over 1,200 fans per game. The team featured five former major leaguers, many players with Single-A to Triple-A experience, and three members from the back-to-back Long Beach Little League world champions of the early 1990s. Three Armada players were purchased by major league organizations during the 2005 season, and they continue their climb to the big leagues. Additional highlights of the 2005 Armada season include strong ties to the Long Beach community through a partnership with St. Mary's Medical Center, and the development of an educational reading program in conjunction with Long Beach area schools. Wacky and fun mid-inning fan activities, fireworks and other entertaining elements which included the signing a nun to a single day contract, ESPN Cold Pizza host Jay Crawford pitching two scoreless innings, and the famous "Bing Boy" roaming the Blair Field stands. The Armada also hosted both a Tommy Lasorda Recognition Night and an exhibition game for the Taiwan National Team and hold the all-time record for single-game attendance at Blair Field with over 3500 in attendance for Opening Day.
The 2006 season for the Long Beach Armada opens at home on June 12th versus the Chico Outlaws. Tickets, merchandise, and sponsor opportunities are all still available at www.longbeacharmada.com
About the Golden Baseball League
The Golden Baseball League, Presented by Safeway Inc./VONS, is a professional baseball league operating under a single-entity ownership model, with the League owning all the individual teams. Golden Baseball League teams include the Chico Outlaws in Chico; CA, the Fullerton Flyers in Fullerton; CA, the Long Beach Armada in Long Beach; CA, the San Diego Surf Dawgs in San Diego; CA, the Yuma Scorpions in Yuma; AZ, and the Reno Silver Sox in Reno; NV. The season consists of 80 games per team, begins the first of June and ends in early September. Each team will have a 23-player roster.
For general information, please visit our League web site at www.goldenbaseball.com.