John F. Bassett (1939-May 15, 1986[1][2]) was a Canadian professional American football club owner and notable tennis player.

Sports teams ownershipEdit

Bassett owned the WFL's Toronto Northmen/Memphis Southmen and the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits team.[1]

Bassett also owned the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association.[2]

Racket sports playEdit

Bassett was Canadian junior tennis champion in 1955.[2] He reached the second round of the 1959 U.S. National Championships in singles, in his only appearance in the main draw of the tournament. Bassett never played in a Davis Cup match for Canada,[3] though he was apparently on the team,[1] it would seem in 1959.[2] He was also a member of Canada's 1959 Pan American Games tennis team.[2]

Bassett was also an accomplished squash player, having reached the semi-finals of the 1969 Canadian Open,[4] and having been champion of Ontario in 1965 through 1967.[2]


Bassett was a motion film producer, President of Amulet Pictures, Ltd.[2] He produced the films Spring Fever. and Face Off. Bassett also owned a computer software company and real estate firm based in Sarasota, Florida. [2]


Bassett is the son of Canadian Media mogul John W.H. Bassett and father of former women's professional tennis player Carling Bassett.[4] He and his wife Susan had a total of four children and lived in Toronto and Sarasota.[2][4]

Bassett attended the University of Western Ontario, playing on the varsity football team for a year.[4]

Bassett died on May 15, 1986 in Toronto General Hospital after a long battle with brain cancer.[1] A few months before his death, Bassett had been at odds with New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump. Trump favored moving the USFL to a fall schedule. However, Bassett wished to keep the USFL a spring league. When it was decided that the USFL was going to go head in the fall with the NFL, Bassett announced that he was pulling the Tampa Bay Bandits from the USFl, and suspending team operations.[5] Bassett had co-owned the team with Stephen Arky, and actor Burt Reynolds.[6] An USFL-NFL lawsuit was in progress at the time.[7]


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