The Washington Commanders franchise has been on the market for several months, but reports have now surfaced that a deal is done for owner Dan Snyder to sell the team. If the early details that have been disclosed are correct, the price tag looks to be approximately $6 billion. And it’s expected to meet league approval without any real dissent.
A group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales will be the lucky buyer. Coincidentally, joining them will be another high-profile business partner, NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Harris co-founded Apollo Global Management in 1990, which is where he built his incredible financial portfolio. Forbes estimates his current net worth is $5.8 billion dollars. He’s already the owner of two other major sports franchises – the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils – through his firm Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.
Partner Mitchell Rales is the Chairman of Enovis and ESAB and President of the National Gallery of Art. His value is listed at $5.5 billion.
Of course, Johnson is the famed former LA Lakers Hall of Famer who is the holder of five NBA titles. Magic also owns a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, is involved in numerous other business ventures, and has a net of $620 million as of 2023. He is the third wealthiest professional basketball player ever, behind only Michael Jordan and Junior Bridgeman, who accumulated a fortune following his playing career.
With Dan Snyder being one of the National Football League’s most disliked owners for several years? The move is looked on by many people in the Washington fan base as a blessing that’s been a long time coming.
It’s been known publicly for quite some time that a deal for the Commanders was imminent. The Snyder Family announced in November 2022 that they had acquired the services of Bank of America Securities to pursue potential investors or buyers. At that time, it was reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had been pushing for Dan Snyder to get the transaction approved and completed ahead of the 2023 season.
Despite their lack of success on the field, the Commanders carry marquee value due to their status as one of the most storied franchises in the history of North American sports. They have an international following and are among the top merchandise sellers among NFL teams.
Snyder’s time as the owner of the franchise has been a stormy one. They have been woeful underachievers on the field, despite overspending on veteran free agents on a seemingly annual basis. Since 2008, Washington has made just three postseason appearances, going 0-3.
In that same span, they’ve managed to win as many as 10 games only once – in 2012. And overall? This football team hasn’t advanced beyond the divisional round of the playoffs since the last time they won the Super Bowl… in 1991.
As bad as that may sound, things were often worse off the field during the Dan Snyder Era. The battle back and forth over changing the team’s name from Redskins, due to accusations against the moniker’s racial insensitivity, was a hot-button issue for the owner.
It was one Snyder didn’t handle very favorably, as he was often criticized for often trying to play both sides against the middle. After two years of merely calling his squad, ‘The Washington Football Team’, they finally settled on ‘Commanders’ as their new identity to start the 2022 season.
Among many other controversies was also a July 2020 report by the Washington Post details that alleged “toxic masculinity” within the organization. 15 women accused some former Redskins employees of sexual harassment.
Snyder wasn’t accused of any direct wrongdoing, but a handful of executives who had operated alongside him were. The Commanders were criticized for not handling complaints thoroughly through their human resources department and for cultivating a toxic work culture.
There appears to be nothing holding the NFL finance committee to okay the sale and pass it along to the owners, who will add their vote of approval. They meet again in May, which should be plenty of time for the final deal to be in place.