Ryan Reynolds might want to buy the Sens, but expert says it's unlikely

Ryan Reynolds accepts an award for Deadpool at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards. There's speculation Reynolds might be interested in buying the Ottawa Senators. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images - image credit)
Ryan Reynolds accepts an award for Deadpool at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards. There's speculation Reynolds might be interested in buying the Ottawa Senators. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images - image credit)

Canadian superstar Ryan Reynolds seems to have expressed interest in buying the Ottawa Senators, and while fans are buzzing about the possibility, one expert says it's probably not going to happen.

On Wednesday, People magazine reported that the Deadpool actor and entrepreneur was considering buying the NHL team, amid reports that the owners are considering a sale.

Reaction on social media was swift, with fans Photoshopping pictures of Reynolds's Deadpool character wearing a Senators jersey into a team photo.

One account even refashioned the Ottawa Senators logo, replacing the centurion figure with Deadpool's mask.

On Tuesday, Reynolds himself responded to a fan on Twitter who suggested he buy the team — not exactly with a yes, but not a no either.

While fans seem excited, why would Ryan Reynolds want anything to do with Ottawa, let alone buy its NHL team?

For starters, Reynolds is Canadian. He was born in Vancouver, but for a time he lived in Ottawa's Vanier neighbourhood and has maintained close ties to the city.

Reynolds donated to the Ottawa Food Bank in 2020. He also posed as Bruce the intern, the man behind Ottawa Public Health's clever Twitter account, during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Mayor Jim Watson named a street "Ryan Reynolds Way."

While the idea Reynolds would be interested in buying the Senators comes as a surprise to many, the team isn't so sure.

"Yeah, that's interesting. You hear all this stuff come out," said coach D.J. Smith with a laugh Thursday, when asked about the prospect of Reynolds becoming the club's owner.

"For us as a group, we just want to win hockey games, and we're going to do everything we can."

Defenceman Erik Brännström also chuckled when asked his thoughts.

"I saw that yesterday. Yeah, that would be fun," Brännström said, though he admitted he hadn't seen any of Reynolds's movies.

Chris O'Meara/The Associated Press
Chris O'Meara/The Associated Press

Reynolds would need billionaire partner, says expert

Even with the support from fans, it's unclear whether or not the actor could even afford to buy the team.

"Here's the thing. Let's say that he has idle cash lying around, $50 million, $100 million, right? We're talking about a team that's gonna cost $700 million," said Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University in Montreal.

"It's going to require very, very deep pockets. And if you want to sell small symbolic stakes to people like Ryan Reynolds, go for it — but there better be a figurehead at the front who has a lot of zeros after his name."

There's the added complication the Senators might leave the Canadian Tire Centre, located 25 kilometres west of the city's downtown.

Three months after former owner Eugene Melnyk died  in March, the National Capital Commission (NCC) announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with a group led by the Senators to develop an NHL arena and events venue surrounded by mixed-use development at LeBreton Flats near downtown Ottawa.

The group's concept was still in the very early stages, the NCC stressed, with a goal of fall 2023 set for signing a long-term lease agreement.

Lander said it's likely someone like Reynolds wouldn't be interested in becoming involved in such a complicated and political deal.

Reynolds does already have a history of investing in professional sports teams. Last year, he and actor and producer Rob McElhenney invested more than $3.4 million to buy Wrexham Association Football Club, a soccer team from North Wales.

CBC tried to reach Reynolds for an interview but received no comment.