Some of the World’s Wealthiest People Are Interested in Buying the NFL’s Washington Commanders
Could the long ownership saga of the NFL’s Washington Commanders finally be coming to a close? After months of speculation about whom scandal-ridden co-owner Daniel Snyder may sell to, two new potentially game-ending bids have entered the fray: both fully funded at $6 billion, a record amount for an NFL franchise.
ESPN reported earlier today that a group led by billionaires Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales—and including NBA legend Magic Johnson—had placed a $6 billion fully financed bid to buy the Commanders, and they weren’t the only ones putting their cards on the table today. The sports company further reported Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos has also made his own fully funded offer of $6 billion. If either deal goes through, it will be the highest amount an NFL team has ever sold for, with the previous number sitting at $4.65 billion, the price billionaire Walmart heir Rob Walton paid for the Denver Broncos in 2022. It’s certainly a far cry from what the Snyders paid for it back in 1999, when Snyder and his wife, Tanya, bought the franchise for $800 million.
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Harris, Rales, and Apostolopoulos are just the latest billionaires to throw their hats in the ring when it comes to the Washington franchise. Since Snyder first indicated he’d be open to a sale back in November, other interested parties with deep pockets have included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, former comedian Byron Allen, and Clearlake Capital cofounders Behdad Eghbali and Jose E. Feliciano.
Snyder, who has been a subject of investigations after allegations of sexual harassment, financial improprieties, and further misconduct, will now have to decide whether he and Tanya want to accept the bid from either Harris and Rales’s group or Apostolopoulos. The NFL is currently conducting its second investigation into the team, run by attorney Mary Jo White, after a first investigation from lawyer Beth Wilkinson found a culture of sexual harassment, bullying, and intimidation for which the Commanders were fined $10 million. A new report from the Washington Post this week claims that Dan Snyder has refused on multiple occasions to be interviewed by White for her current investigation.
The Snyders’ chosen bidder will have to be approved by at least three-quarters of NFL owners to close the deal. Harris is the cofounder of asset management firm Apollo Global Management as well as the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and co-owner of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils—and is clearly eager to add to his collection. Rales, meanwhile, is the cofounder of D.C.-based conglomerate Danaher Corporation, and Apostolopoulos is the managing partner of property management firm Triple Group of Companies and the founder of venture fund Six Ventures Inc.
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