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CTSG Stadium Site Awarded $8MM Infrastructure Grant

"Connecticut Sports Group (CTSG) is grateful to Governor Lamont's team at the Department of Economic and Community Development, Senator Herron Gaston, Representative Chris Rosario, and the entire Bridgeport delegation for their unwavering support in securing infrastructure funding required to construct CT United's waterfront stadium. The $8MM awarded by the State's Community Investment Fund complements significant private capital already committed.

Together, we're set to make a lasting impact on the Greater Bridgeport region and the State of Connecticut by creating jobs, spurring billions in economic impact, and attracting millions in additional private investment. Beyond the construction of a new stadium, plans for the development include a 260-room hotel, new state-of-the-art retail offerings, 1,000 new residential units, a community soccer pitch, a public park, and public water front access.

This project is a testament to our shared vision to ignite the spirit of our communities, foster local talent, and showcase Connecticut on the national stage. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with State and local leaders as this development progresses."
- André Swanston, Founding Partner of CTSG

BRIDGEPORT, Conn., January 9, 2024 – In a groundbreaking moment for the soccer fans of Connecticut, MLS NEXT Pro has awarded Connecticut Sports Group (CTSG) the fifth independent MLS NEXT Pro expansion team - Connecticut United Football Club (CT United FC).  CT United FC is set to join MLS NEXT Pro which includes 27 MLS owned clubs and four recently announced independent clubs. The team plans to play in a new waterfront soccer stadium in Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport.

"As CT United FC embarks on its MLS NEXT Pro journey, I want to extend deep gratitude to the incredible fans, community leaders, and government officials who have embraced our vision. I am confident that, united, Connecticut can compete against anyone,” said André Swanston, Founding Partner of CTSG. “We are committed to building the infrastructure – from a free youth academy to a state-of-the-art stadium - needed to propel Connecticut to the highest levels of soccer.”

Connecticut holds the distinction of being the largest media market in the country without a sports team in MLS, NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. Geographically positioned at the convergence of the NYC tristate and New England, Connecticut has firmly established itself as a vibrant hub for soccer. Connecticut is consistently among the leading markets for soccer TV viewership, with one of the highest engagement levels of any market in America without an MLS team. Connecticut fans, who already spend $1.1 billion a year on sports tickets, merchandise and subscriptions (13% more per fan than the average American) will soon have a team of their own.

“André has a proven track record of building transformational companies and valuing community development," said Charles Altchek, President of MLS NEXT Pro. “His leadership, entrepreneurship, and determination will be key to the success of the Club, and we are thrilled to partner with André, his wife Michelle, and the CTSG team. Today’s announcement marks a historic milestone as André takes the helm as one of our youngest club owners, breaking barriers as one of only a few Black principal owners in US sports history.”

The City of Bridgeport’s Planning and Zoning Commission granted Connecticut Sports Group unanimous approval to develop a waterfront soccer stadium and mixed-use destination. This transformative project encompasses a mix of residences, retail and dining space, community greens, a river walk, and a hotel. The revitalization of this dormant property represents a significant investment in economic development for Bridgeport and the entire state. According to the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at the University of Connecticut, this development is expected to generate $4 billion in economic impact over the next 25 years, and nearly $1 billion in additional state and local tax revenue. Average annual employment will increase by over 1,000 full-time jobs over this period.

"Bridgeport is in the midst of a renaissance, rebranding from an industrial city to now the capital of arts and entertainment of Connecticut. I am proud to announce that MLS NEXT Pro will join that landscape in providing entertainment opportunities for Bridgeport residents and the region at large. I also applaud the major investments that Mr. Swanston has made in Bridgeport and his vision to bring professional soccer to our city," stated Mayor Joseph Ganim.

"The arrival of an MLS NEXT Pro expansion team to Connecticut will be a tremendous opportunity to foster talent, invigorate the economy, and showcase our state on the national stage,” said Rep. Jim Himes. “Local sports have a unique ability to bring together a community, and I look forward to cheering on CT United FC as they represent the great state of Connecticut!”

“Bringing an MLS NEXT Pro expansion team to the state of Connecticut is a tremendous opportunity to ignite the spirit of our communities, foster local talent, and showcase our state on the national stage,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “This exciting endeavor will invigorate our economy, inspire our youth, and unite our diverse soccer loving population.”

Founded in 2024 and owned by Connecticut Sports Group, Connecticut United Football Club (CT United FC) is the fifth independent professional men’s soccer club in MLS NEXT Pro. CT United FC is targeting a 2025 launch and will call a new state-of-the-art stadium in Bridgeport its home. CT United FC embodies the indomitable spirit of our state, carrying forward Connecticut's rich tradition of sports excellence. For updates and more information, visit or follow us on social media: @ctunited on X and TikTok, @ctutdfc on Instagram.

Connecticut Sports Group’s (CTSG) vision is to create unforgettable experiences that inspire communities. We will own and operate professional sports franchises and state-of-the-art venues, utilizing cutting-edge technology and data to deliver superior service. Through our innovative approach and unwavering commitment to excellence, we aim to revolutionize the sports and entertainment industry and bring diverse communities together.

Launched in 2022 by Major League Soccer, MLS NEXT Pro is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States and Canada that completes the pro player pathway from MLS NEXT to MLS first teams. MLS NEXT Pro continues to grow the game through innovation and diversity, bringing professional soccer to new communities and creating opportunities both on and off the field. MLS NEXT Pro will celebrate its third season in 2024 with 29 teams, 27 MLS-affiliated and two independent, Carolina Core FC and Chattanooga FC. Additional MLS-affiliated and independent clubs will join in the years ahead, including Cleveland, Jacksonville Armada FC and Connecticut United FC. The majority of MLS NEXT Pro’s matches are broadcast on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV as part of the groundbreaking partnership between Apple and MLS. For more information about MLS NEXT Pro, visit

Tech Maverick André Swanston Fuels Innovation and Impact with launch of Swanston Organization

New enterprise to empower innovation, inclusion, and impact through Swanston Labs, Swanston Family Ventures and Swanston Philanthropy Initiative

STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- André Swanston, the renowned innovator and entrepreneur, who achieved one of the only 9-figure exits by a Black American as the Co-Founder and former CEO of Tru Optik, announced today the formation of Swanston Organization (SO), the next iteration of his corporate legacy. Swanston Organization encompasses three divisions that will collectively advance the mission of innovation and inclusion: Swanston Labs (SL), Swanston Family Ventures (SFV), and the Swanston Philanthropy initiative.

"The Swanston Organization is driven by three core beliefs: There is a better way to create and scale companies, there is tremendous return to be made by investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs, and it is both a privilege and responsibility to help unlock opportunity for others," said André Swanston, Chairman and CEO, Swanston Organization.

Renowned as Mr. Exit for his ability to forecast industry shifts, identify opportunities, and take calculated risks, André is a true example of grit and determination. From humble beginnings, he rose to develop Tru Optik, a data and identity company for streaming media advertising, that as the largest shareholder he later sold to TransUnion, achieving one of the only 9-figure exits by a Black American tech founder.

Recognized as a lauded entrepreneur, thought leader, and advisor, Swanston has made significant contributions to the field, becoming a regular contributor to publications such as Bloomberg, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. Swanston's accomplishments have earned him numerous awards, cementing his reputation as a trailblazer in the industry. His exceptional achievements have also garnered the attention of influential figures, leading to his appointment by Gov. Ned Lamont to the Board of Connecticut Innovations, where he plays a pivotal role in promoting economic development and innovation through the state's venture fund. Beyond his professional endeavors, Swanston is an unwavering advocate for the community and minority empowerment, actively investing in minority- and women-owned businesses and generously supporting education and community-based initiatives across the country.

The creation of Swanston Labs (SL) aims to disrupt the convergence of media, entertainment, technology, and commerce which will reshape the $7 trillion global leisure economy. Sector focused, SL ideates and builds new companies in-house and acquires promising startups at the pre-Series A stage, scaling both with the aid of a comprehensive network and support matrix.

"Swanston Labs has been a game-changer for my entrepreneurial journey," said Ney Castro, Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Swanston Labs. "Being able to start a new business with immediate access to capital and support from a team of veteran executives allows me to focus on the most intimate and attention sensitive aspects of my business, without many of the day-to-day distractions that plague most early-stage founders. I eagerly look forward to launching my company, and I'm excited to see all that will emerge from Swanston Labs."

Swanston Family Ventures (SFV)
is on a mission to level the playing field and foster diversity in the start-up ecosystem. In 2022, U.S. Black founders raised an estimated total of $2.25 billion, or 1%, out of the $215.9 billion total venture capital allocated in the U.S. In an effort to tip the scales, SFV actively seeks out and invests in underrepresented founders, with 75% of its capital dedicated to empowering minorities and female entrepreneurs. By providing early-stage funding at the pre-seed, seed, and Series A stages, SFV aims to create a more inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial landscape. Some of SFV's portfolio includes: Afroland TV, Bags, FitMatch and Magpie.

"André has been an instrumental part of our growth at Bags. Beyond SFVs investment in our pre-seed round, André has been a consistent thought partner and mentor as we craft our path towards scaling," said Daniel Taylor, CEO and Co-Founder of Bags. "He is an advocate for our work in his expansive network and was a catalyst towards raising and closing our $3 million oversubscribed seed round. We continue to count on his lived experience as a Black founder with one of the largest exits, to help us take critical steps forward to increase access to capital for the next generation of founders."

Swanston Philanthropy
is a $5 million initiative established by Michelle and André Swanston to financially support organizations, creating a lasting and positive impact on society. This initiative uplifts and empowers communities by supporting causes and organizations dedicated to making a difference. The fund donates to educational organizations like programs and schools that empower students with the tools and resources needed for success in academics and in life. The Swanstons also recognize the value of organizations that foster community like faith-based organizations and athletic programs that nurture teamwork, leadership, and personal growth.

"It is an honor to be the namesake of the Patricia Redd Johnson Scholarship which was created by a gift from Swanston Philanthropy to support multicultural students receiving financial assistance from The Hotchkiss School," said Patricia Redd Johnson, former Associate Head of Admissions and Head of Multicultural Affairs at the Hotchkiss School. "André and Michelle's passion for social impact and innovation mirrors my own beliefs in the transformative power of education and together, we aim to make a positive and lasting effect on individuals' lives and by extension, entire communities."

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