Potential ownership group with net worth of $1 billion no longer interested in buying B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

One potential ownership group for the B.C. Lions, led by Mark Woodall and Moray Keith has had their patience run out.

According to TSN reporter Farhan Lalji: I’m told the Woodall/Keith group that has been looking to purchase the B.C. Lions for the better part of the past decade is no longer interested. A six-person consortium with an estimated net worth of $1 billion. They simply got tired of waiting. I’m told there are three to four other interested groups. 

Woodall and Keith are both longtime Lions fans and put together handpicked local business people to make a push for the franchise. It didn’t happen while David Braley was still alive or since his passing.

The Province’s Ed Willes reported that in 2017 Woodall and Keith presented Braley with an offer in the $14 million range that was rejected. In the Woodall-Keith plan, 100 shares would have been sold at $200,000 a piece — raising $20 million. $8 to $10 million of that was supposed to go toward buying the Lions from Braley. The remaining $10 to $12 million was to be invested into the team’s operation.

While the late Hamilton-based businessman was rumoured to be selling the club for almost the entire past decade before his death, Lions’ fans shouldn’t expect any clarity on new ownership in the near future.

Braley graciously set aside enough money to fund the B.C. Lions for a number of years following his death, so the survival of the franchise is not dependent on a sale. And the Braley family has not yet made known its official intention to sell.

The Lions have seen a steep decline in attendance and fan engagement over the past five years in Vancouver’s competitive sports marketplace. Finding a new, engaged ownership group committed to leading the team to a prosperous future is essential for the long-term viability of the CFL on the west coast.