Rap impresario Snoop Dogg has expressed interest in acquiring a stake in the Ottawa Senators, the National Hockey League team for sale in Canada’s capital city. The entertainer said he was looking forward to being part of a bid to acquire the NHL team by Los Angeles-based businessman, Neko Sparks, according to the Associated Press.
“Amazing what [Neko Sparks] is trying to do in Ottawa,” Snoop wrote to his 80 million followers. “I’m looking forward to being a part [sic] of that ownership team. I WANNA BRING HOCKEY BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY.”
Snoop is among a dozen of investors, including several people of color, that are joining Sparks’ bid in making a significant push toward purchasing the Senators, and if successful, The Athletic reports that the price could reach north of $1 billion, which would make it the richest sale in NHL history.
However, venturing into the purchase of the Ottawa Senators is nothing new to the rapper, his first investment was in 2005 when he launched his Snoop Football League. The move was to provide the youth, irrespective of their race, color, creed, or economic background, the opportunity to learn the values of character, integrity, discipline, and teamwork through football and cheer.
The inspiration behind Snoop’s interest in the Canadian Hockey team is to make the game more accessible to minority communities that might otherwise not feel there’s a place for them.
“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,” a source close to the artist said. “He wants to be community oriented.”
“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,” according to ESPN.
Meanwhile, The Athletic reports that the entertainer is already making plans for the 2023-2024 NHL season, should the Sparks group emerge as the successful bidder. He is reportedly planning to attend some of the Senators’ home games and also join commentators to provide some analysis, similar to what he’s done with the Los Angeles Kings in the past.
The race to purchase the Senators follows the death of the team’s owner, Eugene Melnyk, who died last year at age 62, after battling an illness. Before his death, he had a plan to install his daughters as caretakers. He first bought the team in 2003 for $92 million; the acquisition came when the franchise faced bankruptcy and a tenuous future in the nation’s capital.
Under Melnyk, the Senators played in the Stanley Cup final in 2007 when Ottawa lost in five games to the Anaheim Ducks. Ottawa nearly returned to the Cup final a decade later, but lost the deciding game of the conference final in double overtime. Since that loss, the Senators have missed the playoffs for six straight seasons.
Besides entertainment, and most recently sports, Snoop has carved a name for himself as an entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Case Verde Capital, one of the first cannabis-focused investment firms in the world.
He also acquired the brand name rights to Death Row Records. According to him, the move was an “extremely meaningful moment” for him and he was looking forward to “building the next chapter” of the record label.
“I am thrilled and appreciative of the opportunity to acquire the iconic and culturally significant Death Row Records brand, which has immense untapped future value,” he said in a statement. “It feels good to have ownership of the label I was part of at the beginning of my career and as one of the founding members.