People have a lot of varying opinions on Bud Adams, but you cannot say he was not a smart man. According to David Climer, Bud set up a succession plan long ago that will keep the team in his family. That is a smart move considering the estate taxes on a franchise that is worth more than a billion dollars will be astronomical.
Mr. Adams had three children- two daughters and a son. Reports are that the three families now have an equal share in the ownership of the team. Bud's son, Kenneth III, passed away some time ago, but his son, Kenneth IV, has been working for the team since 2006. It has long been assumed that he would take over control of the team when Bud passed away.
All of that will work itself out in due time. Today we reflect on the life of Bud Adams. The sports landscape in the city of Nashville would be completely different had Adams not had the foresight to move the Titans here back in 1997. Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>In agreement with <a href="https://twitter.com/McClain_on_NFL">@McClain_on_NFL</a> that Bud's son-in-law, Tommy Smith, will likely be heavily involved moving forward with the organization.</p>— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) <a href="https://twitter.com/jwyattsports/statuses/392361786155868160">October 21, 2013</a></blockquote>
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That from John McClain and Jim Wyatt earlier. McClain also noted that he has "no idea" what Smith thinks of Mike Munchak.
A few related thoughts/insights from August West on the future of the Titans' ownership:
Lets say this up front: there's no way in hell the Titans move from Nashville. We've sold out every game ever played at LP Field, the stadium is still in great shape (including some very expensive updates just last year), the team is wildly popular locally, consistently profitable, etc. The NFL owners group almost never consents to a move without decades of stadium issues, and that will not be an issue here for a long, long time.
It's also long been expected that the Adams' family had little interest in keeping the team, and they stand to make an insane amount of money by selling it. If that's what happens, my only fear is that we end up with a billionaire owner who sees this as a toy (ala Kahn) or thinks he's a football genius like Snyder or Jones.
For years the Haslam family were the unofficial pick to purchase the team when Bud passed. Most people don't realize that it was a group led by Jim Haslam who put together the presentation material for the expansion team (ended up going to Charlotte as the Panthers) opening, and it was that pitch that first caught Bud's interest. Even when the Haslams bought the Browns, a lot of people behind the scenes believed that they might jump franchises if/when the Titans went up for sale. However, the recent federal case against the family gas stations have probably made them too toxic in the eyes of many owners.
Local alternatives currently seem limited to the Frist Family (who created and still own a majority share of HCA hospitals) and Frederick Smith (founded and still runs FedEx over in Memphis and helped land the Grizzlies there).