The Life and Teams of Johnny F. Bassett: Maverick Entrepreneur of North American Sports
Denis M. Crawford
One of the most influential sportsmen of the late 20th century, Johnny F. Bassett’s marketing wizardry belied his impact on professional hockey and football. A Canadian showman with a Barnumesque flair for spectacle, Bassett challenged the orthodoxy of sports, building sporting utopias in the fatally flawed World Football League, World Hockey Association, and United States Football League. He catered to the common fan, demanded fair treatment of athletes, and forced the sporting establishment to change the way it did business, often to his own detriment.
Drawing on archival research and interviews with Bassett’s contemporaries, this comprehensive biography chronicles his life in and around professional sports: his quixotic attempt to compete with the Maple Leafs; his stunning coup in signing three members of the reigning Super Bowl champions for his WFL team; his battles with the Canadian government over American football; his audacious marketing of hockey in Alabama; and his rivalry with Donald Trump for the soul of the USFL.