It looks like one contender in the fierce competition for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators is out of the race.
Ryan Reynolds‘ bid for the team will not proceed, ESPN reported, citing multiple sources close to the process. The actor made a request for an exclusive window to execute the deal and when that request was denied, it prompted Reynolds to drop out of negotiations. The NHL declined to comment to ESPN an a separate Robb Report inquiry was not immediately returned.
The Deadpool star will not add a hockey team to his portfolio of businesses that already includes the Welsh soccer club Wrexham, which he owns with fellow actor Rob McElhenney. The move comes despite previous enthusiasm from the league office. Last December, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sounded optimistic about Reynolds becoming a team owner, telling the league’s board of governors that the star had impressed the NHL officials who’d met with him.
“He understands sports and he understands promotion,” Bettman said. “I think he told us his followers on all of his platforms combined was well over 100 million.”
Meanwhile, all indications suggest that Snoop Dogg’s bid with Los Angeles-based film producer and entrepreneur Neko Sparks for the NHL team is still active. The rapper expressed an interest in increasing the sport’s prominence in the U.S.—specifically among Black children. Not too long ago, a Forbes valuation put the Senators at $800 million, ranking it 24th out of the league’s 30 teams.
Concordia University sports economist Moshe Lander recently told the Associated Press that celebrities are attracted to sports franchise ownership because they are safe investments with potentially high returns. Lander also said that a celebrity’s presence can attract attention to a relatively unknown team: “All of a sudden, people are caught up in the real-life ‘Ted Lasso.’” Which is precisely what happened with Reynolds buying a low-level Welsh soccer team and building a successful docudrama around it.
Reynolds’ bid was backed by real estate developer Remington Group. During a November appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he explained that “it’s very expensive, so I need a partner with really deep pockets.” He joked that if the deal didn’t happen, “I’ll buy a U.S. senator, which everyone can afford.”
The bidding process will go forward without Reynolds and the deadline for the submission of final offers is still May 15.