On the cusp of the team's 20th-anniversary season, the Sioux Falls Pheasants (independent; American Association) has been sold to a new investment group with some fairly big names.
Majority owner Bill Sexton has sold his stake in the Pheasants and the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede to SD Sports and Entertainment, a new corporation owned by Bob Naegele III, Matt Majka, Tom Garrity and Arnie Abens. The first two names in this list have ties to the Minnesota Wild. Naegele is the son of Minnesota Wild founder Bob Naegele and an original investor in the NHL franchise. Majka is COO of the Wild and Minnesota Sports Entertainment, owner of the Wild and the team's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros. Garrity is a sports consultant.
It's pretty clear the Pheasants were not the driving force in this transaction: with the emphasis on hockey in the new investment group, the Stampede -- who will be playing in a sparking-new events center in the future -- was a big draw, although Garrity's background is in baseball as a front-office member of the Houston Astros. And it's safe to say there's a lot of upside to Pheasants operations in Sioux Falls Stadium, where attendance has been fairly low the past couple of years.
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