It's been widely reported as rumor, then it was finally confirmed, that David Siegel of Westgate Resorts and Queen of Versailles/biggest house in the world/just bought the Cocoa Beach Pier fame was planning to buy Orlando's arena-football team, the Predators. Today Westgate sent out a press release congratulating Siegel for sealing the deal and promising that his goal in doing so was at least partly altruistic. Read below. Note the part where where Arena Football Commissioner Jerry Kurz calls Siegel "a proven winner." Despite his warnings to employees that Obama would bankrupt us all (or, at least the rich people), business must be good these days.
Orlando Predators LLC, a company owned by David A. Siegel, Founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, has purchased the Orlando Predators Arena Football team. Under the new ownership, the Predators will return to the Amway Center for the 2015 season.
The acquisition comes with the promise of returning the franchise to its most visible and competitive position, while simultaneously creating more opportunities to give back to the community.
According to Jerry Kurz, Arena Football League Commissioner, “The Orlando Predators has always been a major competitive force in the Arena Football League. It is only fitting that David Siegel – a proven winner himself - be admitted into our proud league as the newest owner of the Orlando Predators. We look forward to great things from David and the Predators in the years to come.”
Mayor Buddy Dyer added, “This is exciting news for our city and comes at a time when Orlando is undergoing a very significant transformation as a sports destination. It is also great to see the Predators return to the Amway Center, where they will enjoy a state-of-the art facility and provide ideal proximity to their fan base. We applaud David for his vision in bringing this forth. The Predators will be even more fun to watch going forward.”
According to Siegel, the purchase and return to Amway was motivated by the opportunity to grant an already storied franchise the exposure and attention it deserves in a world-class venue. “The Orlando Predators is a great football franchise and I look forward to helping them to remain highly competitive for years to come,” he said. “They provide great entertainment value for locals and visitors alike and have been a staple in our community since they were introduced into the league over 20 years ago.”
Siegel also plans to partner the Predators with the Westgate Foundation and create more community engagement opportunities. He added, “The team is an ideal platform for providing entertainment for the youth. Given our new location back at Amway, we particularly want to ensure the youth of the surrounding communities enjoy access to the games taking place nearby.”
Westgate Resorts executive Jared Saft has been named President of the Orlando Predators and will oversee the team while Arena Bowl championship coach Rob Keefe, who joined the team in 2013, remains Head Coach.
Entering their 25th year in the AFL, the Orlando Predators were introduced to the league in 1991, four years after the league was formed. They have made 20 playoff appearances, including seven division titles and two championships in 1998 and 2000, respectively.