NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was first reported late Thursday night, and now it is official: former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is set to become an owner of the Nashville Predators.

The Predators sent out a press release Friday afternoon, confirming the Sportico report from Thursday.

Current Nashville Predators chairman Herb Fritch has agreed to sell the majority of his stake in the team to Haslam. The team said the process is going “smoothly” and that Haslam is set to become a minority owner within the next few months.

Through the multi-phased transaction, Haslam is projected to become the Predator’s majority owner within the next few years.

The team is currently controlled by Herbert Fritch, a healthcare entrepreneur who took over as chairman in 2019. He replaced Tom Cigarran, who was in this role since 2010. The team is currently owned by Predators Holdings LLC, which manages the day-to-day operations of Bridgestone Arena.

“The pending addition of Governor Haslam to the ownership group solidifies that local stewardship for years to come, with the shared philosophy for making SMASHVILLE the most unique sports market in our league and country as our players and coaches compete for the Stanley Cup each season,” said Sean Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Predators and Bridgestone Arena. “We are excited and appreciative that he has agreed to join the ownership team.” 

The former Governor’s brother Jimmy Haslam also owns the Cleveland Browns. Bill Haslam served as the Republican governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019.

The value of the team has grown throughout the years as the Preds were purchased in 1998 for $175 million.

The team is now valued at an estimated $680 million.