Star Bigger Than Reynolds Changing Landscape of Senators’ Sale

Don’t look now, but a bigger name with more star power than the uber-popular Ryan Reynolds may have jumped into the running when it comes to acquiring the Ottawa Senators. While the NHL (particularly Gary Bettman) has reportedly taken a keen interest in Reynolds being part of the ownership group that ultimately lands the Senators when the team is sold, a new name might be just as enticing and has as much, if not more social media clout than Reynolds.

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That Hollywood A-Lister is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and he’s apparently jumped on board as one of the financial backers in a group that is catching a lot of early attention for their sizeable bid to purchase the team.

The News About The Rock’s Involvement

Reynolds is part of the Remington Group’s bid to purchase the Ottawa Senators and he’s an important part because he brings with him a track record of genius marketing and social media buzz that comes with his investment into a sports franchise. Having successfully turned around the Wrexham AFC club and built a hugely popular show about his purchase of the team, the NHL is hoping he’ll do the same for the Senators. The Remington Group likely brought him in thinking it would give them the edge, even if they didn’t make the highest offer in the early rounds of bidding — rumored to be in excess of $900 million.

That said, there were reportedly as many as eight serious bids for the team and it was only a matter of time before news of who might be involved with each group started getting out there. The Rock has reportedly joined the Neko Sparks Group, which is rumored to have put in upwards of $950 million.

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In other words, not only has the Neko Sparks Group possibly put together the highest bid, but they’ve now got potentially the biggest celebrity in the world attached to it, one who can produce features and documentaries with the snap of his fingers.

Why Does This Change Things?

The report comes from Brent Wallace of the “Coming in Hot with Wallace, York, and Ryan” podcast. During the show, he noted that Neko Sparks has put together quite the group of backers, and The Rock, who is reportedly worth about $800 million and just relaunched the XFL in the past month only makes their group more attractive of an option. Johnson has a huge social media following — 370 million Instagram followers and 17 million Twitter followers — and he also owns his own production company called Seven Bucks Production. He owns a tequila company called Teramana, has a huge deal with Under Armour, and he’s arguably one of the most recognizable people on the planet. When he gets involved in something, it gets noticed.

Ottawa Senators Bench Celebration
Ottawa Senators Bench Celebrates a Goal (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Should The Remington Group not come up with the most money and not successfully purchase the team, the NHL would have been disappointed. But, the loss of Reynolds as part of that equation doesn’t sting as much when The Rock is your Plan B and helps promote the turnaround of the franchise, featuring names like Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stuztle.

Could The Rock and Reynolds Join Forces?

What’s also interesting about this is that Wallace suggests Johnson and Reynolds could ultimately work together. It was reported previously that Reynolds was in with The Remington Group and not anyone else, nor would he be, but Wallace seems to think their friendship could create a scenario where Reynolds eventually gets involved with the Neko Sparks Group if they ultimately win out here.

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For the current owners and the NHL, there’s a lot to like about Neko Sparks’ bid. He’s already doing AI work with the Senators’ organization, his major financial backers in this group have a net worth of around $15 billion and the marketing machine behind their group ensures the league is in a good spot.

Will it be the winning bid? It’s too early to know as the process of the sale is still in its initial stages. What is clear is that investors are doing everything in their power to put together the most attractive group of owners possible and The Rock’s involvement changes the landscape of things for many other wannabe buyers.