- Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.
Hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg has joined businessman Neko Sparks’ bid to buy the Ottawa Senators.
Snoop confirmed his involvement in an Instagram post Monday.
“Amazing what [Neko Sparks] is trying to do in Ottawa,” Snoop wrote to his 80 million followers. “I’m looking forward to being apart [sic] of that ownership team. I WANNA BRING HOCKEY BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY.”
The Athletic reported that the musician is one of more than a dozen investors — including several people of color — in Sparks’ consortium that is making a significant push toward purchasing the Senators.
Sparks would be the first Black owner in NHL history.
That might come at a steep cost. The final price for the Ottawa franchise could reach north of $1 billion, which would make it the richest sale in NHL history.
This also wouldn’t be Snoop’s first foray into the sports world. In 2005, the rapper launched his Snoop Football League, with an emphasis on “provid[ing] youth, regardless of race, color, creed, or economic background the chance to learn the values of character, integrity, discipline, and teamwork through football and cheer.”
From the tenor of his social media post, Snoop is aiming to bring that same mission into the hockey world and make the game more accessible to minority communities that might otherwise not feel there’s a place for them.
Snoop being on Sparks’ ownership ballot could be an enticing prospect if their bid is successful. The entertainer’s star power might draw more fans and media attention to the Senators and help to monetize a potential new arena that any group purchasing the team would be interested in building. The Senators play in a rink well outside city limits, and seeing the club move downtown is a significant piece of the puzzle for its future owner.
Sparks has competition in the celebrity category, too. Another interested party — The Remington Group — is supported by actor Ryan Reynolds’ investment; it is considered a front-runner as well that is also not intimidated by the potential $1 billion figure that Ottawa could draw.
There is no official date by which the Senators sale is set to be completed, as the process of meeting with and vetting the most qualified buyers continues.
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