Stuart L. Sternberg
|August 8, 1959
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|St. John's University (B.A.)
|Owner of the Tampa Bay Rays
|Lisa Kampfmann Sternberg
|Beverly Tartell Sternberg
Stuart L. Sternberg (born August 8, 1959) is an American Wall Street investor. He is the principal shareholder of the ownership group that owns the Tampa Bay Rays and acts as the team's Managing General Partner since November 2005.
The youngest of three children, Sternberg was born on August 8, 1959, and raised in a Jewish family on Avenue M in the Canarsie neighborhood of New York's Brooklyn borough He is the son of Beverly (née Tartell) and Samuel Sternberg and his parents owned a pillow shop on Flatbush Avenue. His passion for baseball developed in his childhood while playing the game in the streets and playgrounds of his neighborhood. One of Sternberg's most cherished memories is when he saw Sandy Koufax pitch while attending his first Major League game with his father at Shea Stadium in 1965. Sternberg has played in various organized baseball leagues over his lifetime and coached his two sons' Little League teams for five years. He attended yeshiva through third grade, wearing a kippah every day and went to Canarsie High School.
In 1978, Sternberg began his professional career trading equity options part-time at the American Stock Exchange while attending St. John's University earning a degree in finance. After college Sternberg was hired by investment group Spear, Leeds & Kellogg, and he eventually became a partner in the firm before he moved to Goldman Sachs. In 2002 he retired from the company as a partner. He has served on several committees and advisory boards in the financial securities industry.
Sternberg purchased a 48% plurality-share in the previously named Devil Rays (now known as the Tampa Bay Rays) in May 2004 from Vince Naimoli and took over operations becoming a managing general partner in October 2005. He structured his bid for controlling interest in the team with fellow Goldman Sachs partner Matthew Silverman whom he hired as the team's president.
In February 2011, an article in Business Insider speculated that Sternberg would be a potential owner of the New York Mets. Two major factors that supported the theory is that Sternberg is a Mets season ticket holder and that Sternberg had expressed negative feelings about the Rays due to low fan attendance. However this was proven wrong in a recent interview. He said he was happy with the Rays and has no interest in buying another team. Many Tampa Bay Rays fans said they had hoped he would sell the Rays and buy the Mets citing the owner's lack of commitment to the area and the on-field product.
Remarkably, since 2019, the Rays have qualified for the playoffs every season despite the fact that they play in the same East Division as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, who perennially have the highest player payrolls in the major league. Yet attendance for home games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg has been among the lowest in the big leagues over the years. In a June 2011 Tampa Tribune interview, Sternberg remarked, "I know we can't sustain ourselves like this. It hasn't gotten better. If anything, it's worse. To run a payroll like we do now, basically the second-lowest in baseball, and barely keep our nose above water, we can't sustain that. Baseball is just not going to stand for it anymore. And they'll find a place for me. They won't find a place here though." He reiterated his stance and raised the specter of relocation after the Rays were eliminated from the playoffs that season. However he has stated several times that he is staying with the team and they are not moving anywhere within the coming years.
In October 2014, it was reported that Sternberg frustrated with efforts to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, had discussions with Wall Street associates about moving the Rays to Montreal, which has not had an MLB franchise since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005 to become the Washington Nationals.
Sternberg currently resides in Rye, New York with his wife, Lisa, and four children, Sanford, Jake, Natalie, and Ella.
Ruttman, Larry (2013). "Stuart Sternberg: From Canarsie to Tampa Bay by Way of Wall Street". American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska and London, England: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 439–448. ISBN 978-0-8032-6475-5. This chapter in Ruttman's oral history, based on an April 20, 2009 interview with Sternberg conducted for the book, discusses Sternberg's American, Jewish, baseball, and life experiences from youth to the present.