NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis has joined the board of directors of the World Jai-Alai League (WJAL), the only professional American Jai-Alai league. Lewis, considered one of the most dominant defensive players in NFL history, is lending his unique skill set to jai-alai, the world’s fastest ball sport. With 13 Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl MVP award, Lewis brings his competitive nature to a sport looking to breakout in 2023.
“I’m excited to join WJAL on the ground floor and help spread the word about this fast-growing sport,” said Lewis. “These are incredible athletes playing a uniquely challenging game, and Scott Savin and his team are building something special. I look forward to getting to Miami soon to check out these athletes in-person.”
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Ray to our board of directors. This is a big day for the growth of our league,” said Scott Savin, chief operating officer of the World Jai-Alai League. “Ray’s stature, experience, and insights will increase overall awareness of jai-alai, which is already growing exponentially. Ray will be a motivating force, not just for our athletes, but for all of us.”
Lewis is a former professional football player who played as a middle linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens for his entire 17-year career in the NFL. He is an NFL Hall of Fame Player, two-time Super Bowl champion, and the host of “The Ray Lewis Show”.
Jai-Alai is a 400-year-old sport that originated in the Basque province of Spain. It has been played competitively in the United States for almost a century. Players use a basket-style racket called a cesta to launch and catch a ball which often travels at speeds exceeding 150 mph. The five-team league features the top players in the world including several former University of Miamiathletes. They join an international array of talent from Spain, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.
With a storied legacy and significant presence in Miami, the WJAL Board of Directors comprises six distinguished individuals, including Joey Cornblit, the first American-born player to achieve world championship status, and Leon Shepard, affectionately known as “Tevin” during his reign as a retired U.S. Jai-Alai champion. The allure of this opportunity was not lost on Lewis, who has always felt a strong connection to the city. Moreover, Lewis took note that several former University of Miami athletes have found a new avenue for earning income through their active participation in the organization, particularly those who did not make it to the National Football League.
The WJAL streams all matches live on ESPN3 and is licensed for sports wagering in 12 states, Mexico, and the province of Ontario. The WJAL plays three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Friday) at the Magic City Fronton in Miami. WJAL’s Spring Season gamedays are open to the public on Fridays (7 p.m.) through May 12. Aside from ESPN3, WJAL matches are viewable on Jai-Alai TV (www.jaialai.live), via the Jai-Alai app (downloadable on Roku, Firestick, iOS, and Google Playstore) and at www.watchjaialai.com.
For more information, go to www.jaialaiworld.com. The WJAL plays at the Magic City Fronton in Miami located at 450 N.W. 37th Ave.