It’s not every day an NHL team goes up for sale, so interest in buying the Sens is booming.
What happened: Of what’s come down to six prospective buyers for the Ottawa hockey team, a reported bid of US$1 billion led by Toronto-based Remington Group, a real estate developer, and Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds is becoming a clear frontrunner.
- Beyond being lifted by Reynolds’ star power, it’s a competitive bid: A recent valuation by Forbes listed the Senators at US$800 million, 24th out of the NHL's 30 teams.
- The actor is on a sports roll after pulling a Ted Lasso-style revamp of Wrexham alongside fellow actor/owner Rob McElhenney, earning the soccer team a promotion.
And if you’re wondering why on earth a developer wants to own a hockey team, the answer partly lies in the 75 acres of real estate under the Canadian Tire Centre. The land is part of the deal, and the belief is that it would be redeveloped if the team can move downtown.
- The Senators have been burned by low fan attendance in recent years, partly due to the arena’s remote location, which can take 30-60 minutes to get to from downtown.
Bottom line: Whether or not Remington’s deal is accepted, it’s hard to see a deal that moves forward without Reynolds. He’s done all the right things: meeting with officials from the National Capital Commission, the mayor, and getting local business groups involved.
What’s next: Canadian billionaires Michael Andlauer and Jeffrey and Michael Kimel (the latter are former part-owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins) are also in the running. Heck, even Snoop Dogg is throwing his hat in the ring. The deadline for final bids is set for May 15.—SB