The Neko Sparks Group is adding another celebrity to its roster as it seeks ownership of the Ottawa Senators.
Canadian comedian Russell Peters has announced he has joined up with Sparks’s bid.
“Pumped to be part of the [Neko Sparks] group in their historic bid for [the Ottawa Senators]: the first ever Black, Indigenous, South Asian, visible minority group to bid on an NHL team in history,” he said in an Instagram post on Saturday.
“Honored to have you on the team brother,” Sparks replied.
Peters joins other high-profile figures including American rapper Snoop Dogg and Canadian Olympian Donovan Bailey in the group bidding to own the Sens.
Peters has had a lucrative career in stand-up comedy. In 2013, he became the first stand-up comedian to get a Netflix comedy special. He ranked third on Forbes’ top 10 list of highest-earning comedians that year.
CTV News Ottawa reached out to Peters’s manager, his brother Clayton Peters, for additional comment but has not heard back.
There are four groups in the running as of the deadline to submit bids last Monday, according to reports, but the Sparks group has been the most vocal, touting its diverse partners, including Indigenous groups. On Monday, Snoop Dogg, who was an early celebrity face for the group, posted a video to social media in which he wears an Ottawa Senators jersey and gives “a shout out to the First Nations of Canada.” On Wednesday, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, which has a land claim on LeBreton Flats, the possible site of a future arena, endorsed the Neko Sparks Group’s approach to the bidding process. Bailey announced his involvement with the group on Friday.
Sparks is an L.A.-based entrepreneur and chief technology officer at AI company Pixel Lime. He has said his group is “well-positioned and well-backed,” telling Newstalk 580 CFRA in April that it includes “a nice mix of Canadian money, U.K. money and American money.” His team includes former L.A. Kings captain Mattias Norström and former New Jersey Devils chief marketing officer Daniel Cherry.
Postmedia reported that three of the bids came from Toronto-area businessmen: Michael Andlauer, who owns a minority stake in the Montreal Canadiens; Jeffrey and Michael Kimel, who were formerly involved with the Pittsburgh Penguins and whose bid reportedly includes Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd; and Steve Apostolopoulos, who has also submitted a bid to own the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
The Ottawa Senators went up for sale following the death of Eugene Melnyk, who passed ownership onto his daughters Anna and Olivia Melnyk. Forbes recently valued the Senators at $800 million USD.
It’s unclear when the successful bid will be announced.