|Stuart L. Sternberg
THE 2017 SEASON marks the Rays 12th under the leadership of Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg.
Since he assumed control of the franchise in 2005, the Rays have become the best turnaround story in Major League Baseball. In Sternberg's first decade as owner, the Rays posted six winning seasons, five 90-win seasons and advanced to the postseason four times. Prior to his arrival, the "Devil Rays" finished last during seven of the first eight seasons.
While the on-field successes have been the envy of small- and large-market teams alike, there is even more to the Rays progress. Sternberg takes great pride in the organization's commitment to its employees and community service.
Under Sternberg's leadership, an employee-first culture defines the organization. It is fostered through myriad initiatives, including a wellness program; a staff-led service group, the Employee Community Outreach Team (ECOT); and generous leave policies. In May 2015, the organization was recognized by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez as a "Leader on Leave" due to its groundbreaking paid maternity, parental, adoption and volunteerism benefits.
Additionally, through grants and other contributions, the Rays and the Rays Baseball Foundation (RBF) together have invested more than $34 million in the Tampa Bay region since 2008. The RBF focuses primarily on youth and educational programming that make a measurable difference in the Tampa Bay region. As part of this commitment to community, all employees are urged to spend one paid day each month volunteering. To date, total volunteer hours for the organization exceed 30,000.
In 2014, Sternberg initiated a second major round of capital improvements to Tropicana Field. The 360-degree pedestrian circulation around the lower seating bowl created a new social gathering space, open to all fans, overlooking center field. This project brings the total Rays investment in Tropicana Field to more than $30 million since 2005.
Under his direction, the Rays have consistently ranked as one of the most affordable experiences for fans according to ESPN. The Rays earn that distinction by implementing various fan-friendly policies. The organization was the first major league team to offer free parking (still in place today for fans who carpool on Sundays) and is the only major professional sports team in Florida to allow fans to bring food into the ballpark.
In January 2015, Sternberg was named to Major League Baseball's Executive Council, an eight-member panel that advises Commissioner Rob Manfred on major issues. He also serves as chairman of MLB's Diversity Oversight Committee, serves on the board of directors of MLB Advanced Media and on the board of advisors of Moffitt Cancer Center.
Prior to his ownership of the Rays, Sternberg spent 25 years in the financial securities industry, serving as a partner in Spear, Leeds & Kellogg and then as a partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs, from which he retired in 2002. Sternberg and his wife, Lisa, have four children. They reside in Rye, N.Y.