NHL’s Ottawa Senators Sale Sets Bid Deadline
The final bids for the purchase of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL) are due in mid-May, according to a report in the Ottawa Sun. New York-based Galatioto Sports Partners (GSP) is the investment bank handling the sale for the estate of Eugene Melnyk, who passed away in 2022 after 19 years of ownership.
“Nothing is going to happen before the end of April,” an NHL source told the Sun.
Along with final bids, the suitors for the Senators must show that their financing for the purchase is fully in place.
Potential Record-Setting Bids
Reports also say that the final sale price for the Senators is likely to top $1 billion, which would be a first for an NHL team. The previous top sale price for an NHL franchise was the $900 million paid in 2021 by the Fenway Sports Groups for the Pittsburgh Penguins. That purchase added the Penguins to the FSG portfolio that includes the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball and the Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League.
Currently, the $880 million sale of a stake in the Nashville Predators to former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam is working its way through the NHL’s approval process. Bill Haslam is the brother of Jimmy Haslam, the owner of the National Football League’s (NFL) Cleveland Browns.
More than a dozen groups initially showed interest in purchasing the Senators. But with the climbing price and a deadline looming, that group is said to be down to six finalists. One of those finalists is The Remington Group, which includes Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.
Reynolds is the coowner of Wrexham AFC, which just achieved promotion from the National League to League Two of the English Football League. This season, under his and actor Rob McElhenney’s ownership, Wrexham has become a global brand. There has been a Disney+ documentary series called “Welcome to Wrexham,” and 80% of the club’s merchandise sales have come from overseas.
Reynolds’ visibility and popularity is said to make The Remington Group a favorite of the NHL.
The other five finalists for Senators ownership are:
- Michael Andlauer, current minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens;
- Jeffrey and Michael Kimel, owners of the Harlo Capital Group;
- Steve Apostolopoulos, who recently tried to purchase the NFL’s Washington Commanders;
- Film producer Neko Sparks and former NHL player Mattias Norström;
- Vivek Ranadivé, owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
Senators are Staying in Ottawa
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman helped whittle the field of potential buyers with his declaration that the Senators would not be allowed to move out of Ottawa. However, the expectation is that new ownership will look at the possibility of moving the team downtown.
The Senators have played at Canadian Tire Centre since it opened in 1996, located 16 miles from the downtown neighborhood of LeBreton Flats, which has been targeted for a new arena.
Bettman also told potential new owners that when it comes to a new arena, or a renovated Canadian Tire Centre, they should not expect to receive public money from the city or province.
The Senators missed the playoffs this year for the sixth straight season, their longest such streak in the 31-year history of the franchise.