Harris Group finalizes deal to buy Commanders


A group led by NBA co-owner Josh Harris philadelphia 76ers and NHL New Jersey Devilsreach an agreement to buy washington commanders From owners Dan and Tanya Snyder, the parties announced Friday.

Sources told ESPN that the group agreed to pay a record $6.05 billion for the team. The previous record sale for a sports franchise was set in August, when a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton bought it. denver broncos for $4.65 billion.

The deal struck Friday by Harris’ group and Snyders is subject to NFL approval. A source said league owners will receive an update on the sale agreement at league meetings scheduled for May 22-23 in Minneapolis, with any potential votes expected to take place in the coming months. The transaction would require approval by at least three-quarters of the league’s owners and other customary closing conditions to go through.

The Snyders reached a preliminary non-exclusive agreement to sell the franchise to Harris on April 14. At that time, the deal was fully financed but not yet 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,” Snyders said in a statement. “We look forward to the speedy completion of this transaction and to the passion and team for years to come.”

Harris, who grew up in Maryland, co-founded Apollo Management – ​​an asset management firm – in 1990. According to Forbes, his net worth is $5.8 billion. Mitchell Ralles, who has a net worth of $5.5 billion, David Blitzer, who co-owns Crystal Palace FC of the English Premier League with Harris, and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson are also part of Harris’ group. There are also at least 12 limited partners as part of the group.

“On behalf of our entire ownership group … I want to express how excited we are to be selected by the NFL to be the next owners of the Washington Commanders and how committed we are to delivering a championship-caliber franchise to this city and its fans,” Harris said in the statement.

“Growing up at Chevy Chase, I experienced firsthand the excitement around the team, including its three Super Bowl wins and longstanding winning culture. We look forward to the coming months and to the formal acceptance of our ownership by the NFL. It is an honor to serve as a responsible and accountable steward of the Commanders franchise going forward.”

The deal also includes FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, as well as the team’s practice facility in Ashburn, Virginia. The commanders are demanding a new stadium to be built somewhere in the DC area. According to several people involved, the presence of Dan Snyder — and the investigation into him and the franchise — stalled the process from last year.

Canadian billionaire Steve Apostopoulos and NBA owner Tillman Fertitta Houston Rockets, were among other groups bidding on the commanderies. Sources told ESPN that another unnamed group placed a bid on the team after touring the facilities.

Jeff Bezos, who was interested, did not bid for the team.

In a statement, Apostolopoulos praised the process, saying: “I could not be more impressed with this opportunity and those involved and know that Commander will remain a fundamental franchise in the NFL.”

Meanwhile, the purchase of Harris drew praise from former Washington Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.

“I have had the opportunity to get to know Josh Harris and the leadership team during this process and fully support his efforts to lead the new ownership group of commanders,” he said. “The NFL has grown tremendously since my time as a coach in this league, but what hasn’t changed is my belief that with great leadership from the top, the drive to win on the field and a commitment to the culture – championship teams Josh and his team share these values ​​and I am committed to doing what I can to reconnect this great franchise with the community, fanbase and alumni.

The Washington-based franchise, which hasn’t won a playoff game in 18 years, once created a lot of value. From 1971 to 1992, the team played in five Super Bowls and won three. The franchise finished with double-digit regular-season wins 13 times and posted only two losing records. In 1988, after a second Super Bowl victory, the team stated that by 1996 the waiting list for tickets at RFK Stadium was close to 39,000.

But the past three years have been one of the more chaotic periods in franchise history due to a series of off-field issues. The franchise announced in July 2020 that it was retiring its former nickname. Later that month, The Washington Post published a report revealing episodes of alleged sexual harassment by former team employees and accusing the workplace culture of being toxic. This led to an NFL investigation of the situation, several stories uncovering more conflicts and allegations and finally, a $10 million fine to the franchise imposed by the league.

In October 2021, the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform, led by former Speaker Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.), launched an investigation into the commanders. In that investigation, Snyder was accused of sexual misconduct in addition to financial irregularities. It also prompted the attorneys general of Virginia and the District of Columbia to launch their own investigations. The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia subsequently launched a criminal investigation into allegations of financial irregularities by the commanders.

Snyder installed his wife Tanya as co-CEO in 2020, and she has been the public face of the franchise since that time. He represented the team in league functions for over a year. The last time Dan Snyder publicly proposed a new team name was February 2, 2022.

For a long time, NFL owners appeared unwilling to cast their own votes for the first time in league history. But at league meetings held in October, Colts owner Jim Irsay said of Snyder: “He deserves to be fired as the owner.” According to several League sources the commanders were growing fatigued from the situation.

Snyder’s issued a statement at the time insisting they would never sell. He abruptly changed his stance in November by announcing that the team was up for sale.

Dan Snyder led a group that bought the team in 1999 for $800 million. He arrived in the NFL as a young, hardworking businessman who became famous as a diehard fan of the franchise.

Washington won the NFC East title that season with a 10–6 record, but the franchise never found success under Snyder. Early in his tenure he was known for changing coaches and signing big-name free agents. In his first five years as owner, he fired Norv Turner in 2000 and Marty Schottenheimer a year later, and Steve Spurrier resigned after two seasons.

Snyder’s first free agent class included high-profile veterans such as future Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith. Washington later gave a record $41 million in guaranteed money to free agent defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.

But the aggressive approach did not result in success, even though Snyder hired coaches such as Gibbs, who had led the team to the first three Super Bowl championships, and Mike Shanahan, who had won two Super Bowls in Denver.

Washington never won more than 10 games in a season and reached that figure only three times during Snyder’s 24 years. The team has not won more than nine games since 2012. Washington went 2–6 in the playoffs during Snyder’s tenure; It has not won a postseason game since 2005 under Gibbs.

The Commanders finished 8-8-1 last season under coach Ron Rivera, who is entering his fourth year in charge.

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