On Friday, the Washington Commanders announced that a group of buyers, led by billionaire Josh Harris, had successfully finalized a purchase agreement for the team.
This purchase agreement marks the end of former owner Dan Snyder’s controversial 24-year run with the Commanders.
The former owner Snyder’s tenure as owner was characterized by a string of controversies, including sexual misconduct allegations.
The team did not disclose the financial arrangements in their statement.
Nevertheless, sources close to the negotiations have reported that the group agreed to pay a whopping $6 billion for the team, $6.05 billion, to be more precise.
The group includes notable names such as Magic Johnson, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Alejandro Santo Domingo, among others.
However, it is important to note that the deal is not yet final, pending approval by three-quarters of NFL owners and other customary closing conditions.
After finalization, this would make the purchase the most expensive in professional football history. This would even surpass the $4.6 billion that Walmart heir Rob Walton paid for the Denver Broncos in 2022.
Investments In Sports
In 2011, Harris and Blackstone executive David Blitzer led a group of investors to purchase the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team from Comcast Spectacor for $280 million.
The group included notable names such as Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
They also purchased the New Jersey Devils hockey team and the Prudential Center in Newark two years later for over $320 million.
In 2015, Harris acquired an 18% stake in Crystal Palace F.C. and formed a partnership with David Blitzer and Steve Parish to run the English soccer club.
Similarly, in 2020, he purchased a stake of less than 5%, worth up to $140 million, in the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL.
However, his bid to purchase the Denver Broncos in 2022 was unsuccessful, as the team was eventually sold to a group led by Rob Walton for $4.65 billion.
NBA G-League & Others
In 2017, Harris and Blitzer established Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) to consolidate their sports ventures.
This includes the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Devils, and several affiliated teams, such as the Delaware Blue Coats and the Utica Comets.
HBSE also operates Dignitas, an esports team, and a sports tech venture capital firm called HBSE Ventures.
Additionally, they own Elevate Sports Ventures, an event ticketing firm.
In 2023, Harris purchased a controlling interest in Ripken Baseball, a youth baseball brand founded by Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
Through the acquisition, he merged the brand with Cooperstown All-Star Village, a baseball resort in Cooperstown, New York.
Washington Commanders Former Owner Bad Repute
In 1999, Dan Snyder purchased the Commanders (previously known as the Washington Redskins) for $800 million.
The team failed to make it to the Super Bowl or the NFC Championship during his 24-year tenure.
Snyder faced multiple controversies, including allegations of sexual misconduct towards female team employees by himself and other male executives. This was revealed in a House Committee on Oversight and Reform probe.
In 2021, the team was fined $10 million by the NFL after an internal investigation into the misconduct allegations.
In November 2021, Snyder hired Bank of America to sell the team leading to the recent purchase agreement by Josh Harris and his investment group for a record-breaking $6.05 billion.