Pelé, the greatest soccer player of all time, passed away a few days ago. And as it turns out, he had a four-decade-long real estate connection to the Hamptons.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Brazil, Pelé was lured to New York by late businessman Steve Ross, then the chairman of Time Warner. Ross founded the New York Cosmos soccer team in 1970; five years later, he offered Pelé a contract worth about $4.5 million, bringing huge U.S. attention to the otherwise barely known sport of soccer.
Besides being a billionaire soccer aficionado, Ross was an enthusiastic Hamptonite who owned the sprawling Cody House compound in the tony neighborhood of Georgica with his wife Courtney Sale Ross. (Cody House was later and briefly owned by David Geffen.)
It seems quite likely Ross entertained Pelé in East Hampton and maybe even encouraged him to buy his own place. And he did. In 1979, the three-time World Cup winner plunked down just $156,000 for his waterfront hideaway in the Clearwater neighborhood of Springs, on the northern shore of East Hampton.
For nearly 40 years, the soccer star and his two daughters, who live primarily in New York City, used the one-acre spread as a summer retreat. At some point, Pelé expanded the now 3,400 square-foot house by adding a second story; the house eventually included a pool and outdoor shower as well.
The property is fortunately FEMA rated X, which means it’s unlikely to flood, with deeded beach and marina rights. The house features huge windows to make the most of the view, and the pool also faces the water. There are upstairs and downstairs master bedrooms, as well as four other bedrooms and a total of 7.5 baths. A finished lower level includes a huge media/playroom with wet bar, an office, lots of storage and a sauna.
Sadly, good things must come to an end. In 2018, at the age of 77 and living back in Brazil, Pelé sold the property for $2.85 million. However, it’s not everyone who can brag that their house was once owned by the GOAT in soccer.