The Guelph Royals baseball team will enter its 100th season with two new owners, and one is the city's mayor.
The Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) announced Monday that the Guelph Royals were purchased by mayor Cam Guthrie and Shawn Fuller, owner of Canadawide Sports in St.George.
"2017 was [the Guelph Royals] 99th season in the IBL and when I heard that they weren't going to finish that season and were at risk of not competing in their 100th season, I knew I had to do something about it," said Fuller.
Fuller had reached out to the Royals former owner Jim Rooney, who owned the team for eight years, and to the commissioner of the IBL to see if he could help bring the Royals back.
"It's a really unique opportunity," said Fuller. "The Guelph Royals have such a rich heritage and it would be a shame if they didn't have a memorable 2018 season."
2017 season came to an end
In June, the IBL and Rooney, were searching for new ownership after the Royals 2017 season abruptly came to an end. At that point, the Royals had only won one of 16 games.
In a statement in June, Rooney said the team saw sponsorship support decline, fewer season tickets sold and attendance has gone down.
"Unfortunately, the on-field performance this season has not met the goals of our fans, sponsors of the overall organization," Rooney said in the statement.
Future of the team
But for the Royals' upcoming season, Fuller said he and Guthrie have two main priorities they want to tackle.
"The focus for us is going to be that we have fans in the stadium that have just an exceptional experience...and that we are fielding a competitive team and making sure we have a good team for the 100th year," he said.
Fuller said they can look to what minor baseball leagues in the U.S. do to enhance people's experience at the ball game.
As for the team's performance, it may be too early to tell, but Fuller said they plan on looking into importing players from other countries to play for the team and to make sure that the Guelph Royals are a team that the players want to play for.
"I think there's some work there to be done," he said.