Robert Palmer Buys The NASL Jacksonville Armada FC
In a Surprise move this morning Robert Palmer, owner of RP Funding announced that they have bought the NASL Jacksonville Armada FC.
Rishi Segal, Manager of Operations & International Media of the North American Soccer League (NASL) addressed the media this morning stating “It’s a Bright Day In Jacksonville and for the NASL”, “This is going to be fun.”
“We are excited for the chance to help the NASL and Jacksonville”, Palmer said, “we are looking for a Home not only for the Armada but for Rp Funding as well”
The Armada will continue to play at University of North Florida, Hodges Stadium and a new deal is in place with WJXT The Local Station.
The arrival of Palmer, a Lakeland native who has owned a residence in Neptune Beach since 2007, gives the Armada an owner with local ties and ends a spell of more than half a year in ownership limbo.
The 37-year-old bought the club from the NASL, which had run the Armada since original owner Mark Frisch returned the franchise to the league in January.
It’s Palmer’s latest foray into professional sports within a four-month span.
He previously became a founding partner in the Lakeland Magic in the G League, the developmental league of the NBA.
Palmer also completed a deal in May to acquire naming rights for the Lakeland Center, now known as the RP Funding Center.
He takes over an Armada franchise that exceeded on-field expectations during a fourth-place spring season, despite fielding by far the smallest roster (20 players) in the NASL.
That small squad has made it difficult for head coach Mark Lowry to field a full seven-man bench during times of injuries.
The franchise has also seen its staff sliced by more than half since the end of the 2016 season. The Armada currently lists 11 front office employees on its website, although the figure dropped as low as eight during the spring.
Palmer becomes the third new owner in Jacksonville professional sports since 2015. Ken Babby purchased the Suns (now Jumbo Shrimp) in Southern League baseball in early 2015, and an ownership group headed by Ron Geary arrived with the ECHL’s IceMen in a February move from Evansville, Ind.