The following is extracted from the 1983 USFL Media
Guide. Supplemental information follows.
John Bassett, a man who thrives on challenges of any
kind, is the managing general partner of the Tampa Bay
Bandits and in charge of the franchise's day-by-day
Bassett hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where his
family owned the Toronto Telegram newspaper and
where Bassett received early training as both a news
reporter and photographer.
An active sports competitor, Bassett in 1955 was the
Canadian Juniors champion in doubles tennis. He
was a 1959 member of the Canadian Davis Cup and Pan
American teams. Tennis runs throughout the Bassett
household as daughter Carling, 15, already is considered
one of the world's leading female players.
In addition to tennis, Bassett also is an excellent
squash player, having won Ontario's championship
In the world of business, Bassett currently serves as
President of Amulet Pictures, Ltd., a producer of
feature motion pictures. One of his most recent
production efforts is the film Spring Fever.
Bassett also owns a software computer company, a film
company and a real estate firm based in Sarasota, FL.
Managing General Partner
Tampa Bay Bandits
He has also been active on the ownership level in
professional sports. Bassett was the owner in the
World Football League of the Toronto Northmen, who later
became the Memphis Southmen, perhaps the most well-known
franchise in the WFL. Bassett also owned the
Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association.
His family has held a long-standing interest in hockey
and at one time co-owned the Toronto Maple Leafs of the
Bassett was honored in 1973 with the Man of the Year
award for Toronto's B'nai Brith Sportsman Lodge.
Bassett and his wife Susan are the parents of four
children and reside in both Toronto and Sarasota.
Sadly, the Tampa Bay Bandits and the USFL would be
Bassett's last significant sports venture.
Bassett, who had fought skin cancer in his mid-30's,
learned in 1984 that cancer had returned, this time in
the form of two malignant tumors in his brain.
Feuding with fellow owners about the USFL's future and
adamantly opposed to the league's move to a fall
schedule, Bassett threatened to break away from the USFL
and launch a new spring football league to replace
it. In the end, racked with cancer and undergoing
treatment, Bassett sold the Bandits after the 1985
season to limited partners Lee Scarfone and Tony
Cunningham. On May 14, 1986 and at only 47 years
old, John Bassett died of cancer. The team he
founded would never play another game, and Tampa Bay
Bandits Football Club, Inc. was formally dissolved by
the state of Florida on October 11, 1991.