SBD/October 22, 2013/Franchises

Titans' Future In Nashville Appears Stable, With Bud Adams' Grandson Likely To Take Reins

A lease agreement keeps the Titans in Nashville through the '28 season
Late Titans Owner Bud Adams' "dying gift to Nashville is an NFL franchise that will remain in the city for the foreseeable future," according to David Climer of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Adams established a plan to "pass ownership of the Titans to members of his family while contractual commitments keep the team at LP Field through the duration of the original lease," which runs through the '28 season. Adams had the "foresight -- and wealth -- to establish a succession plan that keeps the NFL team in the family." He took that action "after seeing other franchises sold because of the burden of estate taxes." While details are "sketchy because Adams insisted on keeping personal business matters private, it is believed that the families of his three children -- daughters Susie Smith and Amy Adams Hunt, and his late son Kenneth Adams III -- will share ownership of the franchise equally." Son-in-law Tommy Smith, who had "a significant role with the franchise when it was in Houston, could be in position to take the lead in the near term." Moving forward, a "key figure in all this is Bud Adams’ grandson and namesake, Kenneth S. Adams IV." He has worked "on the administrative side of the Titans operation for the past seven years," and is the "only member of the Adams family who has had a hands-on working relationship with the Titans in recent years." But even if "part or all of the franchise eventually moves outside the Adams family, that doesn’t mean the team would relocate." Much would depend on "the renegotiation of the lease or the signing of a new agreement between the Titans and Nashville" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/22). ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky wrote Kenneth Adams IV is "a likeable young man who’s taken a smart approach to learning his grandfather’s business." Tommy Smith could "re-emerge in some capacity eventually if the two sisters decide they want him to handle the team." The Houston Chronicle's John McClain yesterday said that he believes the "two daughters and Kenneth Adams IV will each have a vote in what happens with majority rule" (ESPN.com, 10/21).

To read about Adams’ legacy in the NFL, see “Titans Owner Bud Adams Remembered As AFL Founder, Controversial Houston Figure."
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