Four groups submitted bids to buy the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, including one offer of at least $1 billion dollars ahead of Monday’s deadline, according to someone familiar with the process.
Should the franchise sell for more than $1 billion, it would be among the highest prices ever paid for an NHL team. Fenway Sports Group purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2021 for about $900 million, while the Toronto Maple Leafs were valued at about $1 billion in the 2012 sale to Rogers Communications and Bell Canada.
A representative for Galatioto Sports Partners, which is handling the sale, declined to comment. A representative for the team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The bidders do not include the group led by real estate developer Remington Group and actor Ryan Reynolds, said the person, who was granted anonymity because the matter is private. That group recently pushed for an exclusive 30-day negotiating period to secure a new downtown arena deal, but the request was rejected, according to sources.
Team officials will spend the next week analyzing the bids, which may still be altered.
Last year, Sportico valued the team at $655 million, 27th in the 32-team league. The Senators generated the third lowest revenue in the NHL last season, and the team has consistently lost money.
That said, it’s been more than a decade since the last Canadian hockey team was sold (Maple Leafs in 2012)—and the Senators offer a large real estate opportunity, often a critical factor for new sports investors. The team currently plays at the Canadian Tire Centre, an arena about 16 miles from the capital city’s downtown center. Many believe the location has limited attendance; the team averaged 16,757 per game during the 2022-23 season, which ranked 25th in the league.
In June, the Senators signed a memorandum of understanding for a new downtown arena at the LeBreton Flats site. There are still many steps between the MOU and an arena opening, but securing that agreement in connection with the sale would likely impact the franchise’s sale price.
The Senators are being sold by the family of late owner Eugene Melnyk, who died in March 2021. The franchise is currently run by a three-person board.