Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has sold his controlling interest in the National Football League's (NFL) Cleveland Browns to a Tennessee travel centre.
The terms of the deal remain undisclosed but reports are speculating the franchise, which the new owners have promised will not be relocated, has been sold for over $1billion (£642m).
Lerner was approached by Pilot Flying J chief executive Jimmy Haslam several weeks ago and said the proposal made sense.
"While as a fiduciary I have always felt it was my responsibility to listen to offers, I had not been approached with a proposal that felt as natural and complete as Mr Haslam's," Lerner, who took control of the Browns in 2002, said in a statement.
"He had done a lot of work on the Browns and the city of Cleveland and first and foremost gave me his personal assurance the team would remain in Cleveland.
"I feel a deep debt of gratitude to the loyal and passionate (Browns) fan base, as well as the people I've met and worked with over the years.
"It has been a privilege to be involved with the Cleveland Browns and my only hope is that the Haslam family has the best of luck and that the Browns are restored to their rightful place among NFL champions."
The deal still has to be approved by NFL owners before it can be formally completed and that process is likely to be completed in October.
Haslam, who will need to divest the minority stake he holds in the Pittsburgh Steelers, expressed a desire to rejuvenate the Browns and connect with a Cleveland fan base that lost an NFL team to Baltimore in 1996 and were without a team until 1999.
"To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true," the 58-year-old said in a statement.
"We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL - something all Browns fans want and deserve."