Arent Fox Attorney Joins Tampa Bay Rays For Historic Game In Cuba
President Obama's recent Cuba trip made him the first sitting US president to visit the island nation since 1928. During his visit, a goodwill game between the Cuban national baseball team and the MLB Tampa Bay Rays became only the second time in the last 60 years that an American baseball team played in Cuba.
Arent Fox partner and financial management committee chair Rich Gale, the Rays' outside general counsel for the past 12 years, was invited to join the historic trip. He's photographed above at the game, which the Rays won.
Part of the thawing relationship between the two countries, the game was attended by President Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro, and more than a dozen members of Congress. Rays owner Stu Sternberg called this trip "one of the best things this franchise has ever done."
For the Rays, the game was a unique part of Spring Training. Rich tells us they spent two nights in Cuba, flying back and forth on two charter planes. The trip included touring Old Havana and attending an MLB reception—which featured a surprise Jimmy Buffett concert. The hope is that more normalized relations between America and Cuba will help facilitate a more traditional approach to Cuban baseball players participating in MLB.
Rich tells us he represented the current Tampa Bay Rays ownership group when it bought the team, and has repped the ownership group and team ever since.
A transactional lawyer who focuses on M&A and joint ventures, his sports representation started when he helped longtime client Bob Johnson in connection with the NBA's 2004 award of the Bobcats expansion franchise in Charlotte. That gave him entrée to opportunities with other owners and investors. He's represented a group that purchased a large minority stake in the Memphis Grizzlies, advised on the sale of the Bobcats to Michael Jordan, and recently, repped a group that bought a minority interest in the Atlanta Hawks. Along the way, he's gotten to meet a lot of sports figures and attend many games, including the 2008 World Series, in which the Rays played.