Josh Harris, co-owner of the NBA‘s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL‘s New Jersey Devils, reported that he reached an agreement as part of a group of shareholders to acquire the Washington Commanders from Dan Snyder, who owned the franchise for more than two decades. The investor group also includes Mitchell Rales and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.
The deal still must be approved by the NFL, although negotiations are several weeks old as the Snyders had reached a preliminary non-exclusive agreement to sell the franchise to Harris as early as April 14 and, even though the deal was fully funded, it had not been signed.
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement for the sale of the Commanders franchise with area native Josh Harris and his impressive group of partners. We look forward to the early completion of this transaction and encourage Josh and the team in the years ahead,” the Snyders said in a statement.
Also included in the deal is ownership of FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, as well as the team’s practice facility in Ashburn, Virginia. Although the Commanders have been looking for new space to build another stadium, but the presence of Snyder and investigations into him have halted the process in the last year, reported ESPN, so these new investors could unblock the situation.
In addition to Harris’ group, Steve Apostolopoulos, a Canadian billionaire, and Tilman Fertitta, owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and even Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, were interested in buying the team, although Bezos never made a formal offer. Another anonymous group made an offer for the team after touring the facility.
Who is Josh Harris, the new owner of the Commanders?
Harris has proximity to Washington’s NFL fan base, having grown up in Bethesda, Maryland, near the DC area. He co-founded Apollo Management, an asset management firm, in 1990. His fortune is estimated at $5.8 billion, according to Forbes.
Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment also owns part of the English Premier League‘s Crystal Palace FC.
Rales has a fortune estimated at $5.5 billion. While Magic is a minority shareholder, he will be the friendly face of the Commanders’ new owners.
“On behalf of our entire ownership group…I want to express how excited we are to be considered by the NFL as the next owners of the Washington Commanders and how committed we are to delivering a championship-caliber franchise for this city and its fan base,” Harris said.
He added, “Growing up in Chevy Chase, I experienced firsthand the excitement around the team, including its three Super Bowl victories and long-term winning culture. We look forward to the formal approval of our ownership by the NFL.”
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