Featured photo via Wikipedia
The African-American entertainer and cultural icon Snoop Dogg has publicly displayed interest in the ongoing negotiations over the NHL team Ottawa Senators. If the deal comes through, it will result in the first majority-Black ownership of a team on the Canadian ice hockey front. The bid is led by Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Neko Sparks, and could reportedly be worth as much as $1 billion.
The negotiations over Ottawa Senators have officially been kept secret, but substantial information has nonetheless leaked from sources close to the dealings. One of the most viable and prominent candidates for the purchase will be Neko Sparks, a Californian filmmaker and CEO whose bid to buyout the Sens has been joined by other entertainment celebrities.
Key among these is Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus), who this week said on Instagram: “Amazing what [Neko Sparks] is trying to do in Ottawa. I’m looking forward to being apart [sic] of that ownership team. I WANNA BRING HOCKEY BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY.”
A source close to Snoop Dogg anonymously told the media: “He’s passionate about trying to make this game affordable for visible minorities and kids in low-income areas who haven’t been able to play hockey in the past. He wants to be community oriented.”
The team is up for the grabs after long-time owner Eugene Melnyk passed away last year at age 62, succumbing to long-term undisclosed illness. Melnyk had bought the team in 2003 for $92 million after it went bankrupt; he then left it to his daughters. The team is now on the sale, with sources estimating its market price from $650 to $800 million.
However, the winning bid might end up reaching the billion-dollar threshold, with at least seven major parties reportedly involved in negotiations. A final bid is expected to be announced on the by May 15.
If the deal comes through, Neko Sparks will become the first Black majority-owner of an NHL team in Canadian history. However, this is not the first time a Black person has bid for such a position, nor will Sparks be the first-ever Black owner in the NHL, as Snoop Dogg and some media outlets erroneously reported. Earl Stafford and Sheila Francis, for instance, have both been major investors in Washington Capitals for a long time.
This is not the first time Snoop Dogg has shown interest in a sports investment. In fact, the then-34-year-old rapper founded the Snoop Youth Football League in 2005, now one of the most popular leagues for young people with disability in southern California.
Snoop Dogg also acquired Death Row Records last year, home to many of his early successful songs. Along with Master P, he now also owns Snoop Cereal since January, the first Black-owned national cereal company.