Sale of 1/3 of Titans doesn’t solve lingering control issues

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With one of the three branches of the Bud Adams family tree selling its interest in the Tennessee Titans, some will assume that the move will solve the league’s lingering concerns regarding the ownership of the team.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it won’t. As the source said, a sale could actually make things worse.

The problem continues to be the decision of the team’s founder to bequeath the franchise in three equal shares, one going to each of his children’s families, but the failure of the late Bud Adams to give control of the team to any one slice of the three-piece pie. That has resulted in a lingering impasse among the three Adams families, with no two branches willing to sacrifice control of the team to the other.

The decision to sell by Susie Adams Smith (and her husband, Tommy, who at one point after the death of Bud Adams was running the team) is being interpreted as a move of exasperation with the inability of the three branches to determine which branch will have clear control. So now the other two branches, with Amy Adams Strunk controlling one and Susan Lewis and her two sons, Kenneth Adams IV and Barclay Adams, controlling the other, may end up in the exact same posture with a stranger to the family ultimately joining the organization and arguing that he/she should run the show.

Although the Titans consistently have downplayed the situation, that’s the lingering problem. The team has been divided into three chunks that are held separately and equally, with no one chunk having more or less authority than the other.

The league wants one of those chunks to have clear, irreversible control. It’s believed the Titans would like Amy Adam Strunk to control the team until such time as control would pass to Kenneth Adams IV. But league rules don’t allow control to slide from chunk to chunk of franchise ownership.

To solve the problem, Amy Adams Strunk (pictured) could sell all or part of her slice to the other branch of the family, or that branch could sell to her. Or either of them could buy out Susie Adams Smith. Possibly, no one branch of the family tree has the capital to pull that off.

So with no owner of 1/3 of the team buying out any other of 1/3 of the team, and with Susie Adams Strunk now willing to introduce into the mix someone who may not display the same patience and cooperation that the family members have displayed among themselves over the past few years, the NFL may finally begin to push the Titans aggressively to get this matter solved, once and for all.

25 responses to “Sale of 1/3 of Titans doesn’t solve lingering control issues

  1. Fairly obvious to me. TWO need to sell to ONE outsider that Amy approves of who would then maker her a CEO or whatever title she wants (outside of controlling interest).

    Seems like they’re all fairly wealthy trust fund people to be involving grand kids, so the rest of us really don’t care.

  2. Doesn’t make any sense to me. If there’s an agreed-upon controlling owner, what’s the problem? How many freaking owners do the Packers have?

  3. Money could be an issue with the other two family branches, but why won’t one buy the 1/3 being sold? It would stay with the Adams family and solve the control issue. But since no one wants give up control to the others, the selling family probably does not want to sell to the other family members just to spite them.

  4. In the it will never happen but i hope it does department. Move the team back to Houston and bring back The Oilers. (Sorry Tennessee)

  5. One would think Strunk could come up with enough investors to make up the difference between what she can afford and the price of the 1/3 that’s for sale. Even if she has to team up with two other people to pay 1/9 each, that still gives her a greater ownership than any other part owner. Make a move. No risk it, no biscuit.

  6. Well, Pugsly and Wednesday and have gotten a cut, but was Lerch really secretly in the will as well?. Roger Goodell will take months to investigate and to decide. The Adams family lives !

  7. It actually may have been even simpler than this article implies. I believe they could have all kept 33.3% shares if two parties had simply signed an agreement stating the third was the controlling partner. I’ve read that there have been 50/50 splits before handled in that manner and the NFL was totally cool with it as long as somebody was legally in charge.

  8. As a Titans fan, it is truly embarrassing/sad we don’t have an actual owner of the team. Seems like no one wants to step up as a leader and take this team. If either one of these “co-owners” really wanted this team they would buy out the other family members by now. Hope the other two follow suit and sell their shares in this team to someone who truly cares about Nashville and the Titans

  9. The Titans are headed for a decade of excellence, so the ones who are staying are going to enjoy it. Mariota is going to be a HOF QB. Now is a good time to invest in this franchise. Double your money in five years.

  10. The uninformed comments on here….Susie is doing this because she hates Amy. Remember Susie’s husband Tommy was originally put in charge & made a mess of things. Amy & the other 1/3 owners are in lockstep. So whoever buys that, will only be a minority owner. There is some kind of document in place naming Amy as the controlling owner, but that’s not good enough for the NFL apparently. 1/3 of the ownership is worth 1.6 billion btw. not exactly pocket change!

  11. “…the NFL may finally begin to push the Titans aggressively to get this matter solved, once and for all.”

    Exactly how is the NFL going to enforce this? I ask because they clearly haven’t found a way to do so in the last few years.

  12. Typical Bud Adams. He couldn’t even get his will right. Karma for his actions that led to the demise of the Astrodome.

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