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A giant Chelsea flag flies before Chelsea and Everton kick off a Premier League game at London's Stamford Bridge on Jan. 16, 2016.JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

With four deep-pocketed suitors preparing to submit bids for Premier League soccer team Chelsea, one group is using Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chair Larry Tanenbaum’s sporting and community credentials to burnish its pitch.

This week, ahead of a Thursday deadline for final offers on the West London club, Mr. Tanenbaum publicly joined a consortium led by U.S. investor and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca. The group is expected to bid about US$4-billion for Chelsea, which Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich put up for sale last month in the face of British government sanctions.

Mr. Tanenbaum’s group is competing with rival owners of sports franchises, including the family that owns baseball’s Chicago Cubs, a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a consortium that includes the former chairman of Liverpool.

To distinguish its bid, Mr. Tanenbaum’s consortium plans to stress the devoted fan following for MLSE teams such as the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the recent championships won by the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, MLS’ Toronto FC and the CFL’s Argonauts.

MLSE’s Larry Tanenbaum, former captain John Terry join Stephen Pagliuca’s bid to buy Chelsea

With Chelsea bid, MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum attempts to grasp that magic key

“Larry has always considered his role a sacred trust with the coveted fans of these iconic clubs,” said a letter to the group running the Chelsea sale and obtained by The Globe and Mail. The letter said: “His impact not only on the teams but on Toronto and the local community is profound, and he will bring this passion and dedication to Chelsea.”

As owner of the Raptors and chair of the NBA’s board of governors, Mr. Tanenbaum backed global expansion of basketball through NBA Africa. The letter supporting the Chelsea bid highlights the potential to further expand the soccer team’s global following. “Larry has found new ways to connect fans, brands, stakeholders and community groups with elite success on and off the field,” the letter said.

Both the Maple Leafs and Raptors feature players who have come up through minor-league teams – including hockey’s Marlies and Raptors 905. In bidding for the Premier League club, the group said: “Chelsea’s player-development program will be fully supported going forward.”

The pitch also stressed Mr. Tanenbaum’s commitment to women’s sports, saying that professional women’s basketball and football teams are planned for Toronto. The letter said the group’s “commitment to advancing Chelsea FC Woman will be unwavering.”

The Tanenbaum family’s business roots are in construction and paving. Chelsea plans extensive renovations of its stadium under new ownership. In the letter, the group said Mr. Tanenbaum has experience in complex construction projects. “The opportunity to revitalize Stamford Bridge, to create a state-of-the-art facility in its current location, is a task that this team is ready to tackle, working with a roster of U.K.-based talent.”

In addition to Mr. Tanenbaum, Mr. Pagliuca’s consortium includes former Chelsea captain John Terry, former Disney CEO Bob Iger and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. U.S. investment bank Raine Group LLC is overseeing the Chelsea sale.

The Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, is also bidding. Its offer has been dogged by criticism of family patriarch Joe Ricketts, who recently apologized for Islamophobic comments made in past media interviews.

Former Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton and World Athletics president Sebastian Coe are heading another consortium. Todd Boehly, a minority owner of the Dodgers and founder of Eldridge Industries, is also expected to make an offer.

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