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After months of showing interest, it sounds like actor Ryan Reynolds is closing in on buying the Ottawa Senators.
According to Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun, Reynolds is joining Chris Bratty of Markham, Ontario-based real estate developer the Remington Group in a bid for the team. League sources told The Ottawa Sun that the Reynolds/Bratty group will offer more than $1 billion (USD) for the team. That sale would also include the Senators’ current arena, Canadian Tire Centre.
The firm hired by the family of late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, has set a May 15 deadline for bids. According to The Ottawa Sun, the expectation is that Reynolds and Bratty will try to seal the deal as soon as possible.
It’s thought that if they close the deal, a top priority for the new ownership group will be to build a new arena closer to downtown Ottawa. The expectation would be for an entertainment district to be built around the arena.
Could Reynolds Turn Senators Into NHL’s Wrexham FC
The group has also tried to bring local business people into the fold. The idea is to make the Senators a bigger part of the community.
This is a page straight out of the Wrexham FC playbook. That’s the Welsh soccer team that Reynolds purchased with It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia actor Rob McElhenney.
Reynolds talked about this in a recent interview with CNBC.
“The thing I think we did do well with Wrexham FC is… We don’t have a large moat around us of publicists, lawyers, and other personnel,” he said. “We’re pretty accessible and accountable to both the community and the club.
“If you’re going to grow the club, you have to be in tandem and be able to grow that community.”
The Remington group’s bid is not likely to be the only one. The Ottawa Sun lists several other groups that have shown interest. However the team — and the NHL — could certainly benefit from having a high-profile owner. Reynolds has already stated that he’d be a “frothy, rabies-infused fan” if he bought the team.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle