Rattlers owner Robert Sarver said the sale of a majority portion of the team was completed Thursday, ensuring that the club will remain in Phoenix.
Sources told the Tribune that Sacramento Kings minority owner Bob Hernreich will assume about 90 percent of the club with Sarver maintaining a minority portion. Hernreich sits on the board of K2, a sporting goods and recreational products manufacturer, with Suns minority owner Richard Heckmann.
Rattlers general manager Gene Nudo did not want to comment in detail because the transaction must be approved by the Arena Football League, which has not happened yet.
But, said Nudo, “This is as close as we’ve ever been.”
Sources indicated that Nudo will remain in his position and Todd Shell is expected to remain as coach under the new regime. The team will continue to play its games at America West Arena.
The Rattlers had been in flux since the 2004 season, when Sarver acquired the franchise as part of his purchase of the Phoenix Suns. At least one potential sale of the franchise had fallen through since Sarver had taken over, and the Rattlers have consistently lost money over the years despite winning records.
There was concern the franchise would fold if a buyer had not been found.
That cast a pall over the 2005 season, a year torpedoed by a team-record seven-game losing streak. The Rattlers, who had been in three straight ArenaBowls, finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1991.
Once the sale is finalized, the franchise has much work to do. Of the team’s key players, only receiver Randy Gatewood remains under contract. Quarterback Sherdrick Bonner leads the free-agent list.
Hernreich, 60, is president of Remonov Capital Inc. and vice president of Remonov & Company Inc., both investment firms.