Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke at the Spring League Meeting in Minneapolis on the progress of the agreed-upon deal between the Snyders and Josh Harris’ ownership group for the sale of the Washington Commanders, saying that he was “hopeful” a deal could get done soon, but that they were “a little ways away” from getting it done.
Colts Owner ‘Hopeful’ Washington Commanders Sale Gets Done
A week before the meetings, Dan and Tanya Snyder agreed to terms for the sale of the Commanders to Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris and his ownership group, which includes Magic Johnson, David Blitzer, and Mitchell Rales.
The short timeline between the agreement to sell and the ownership meetings means that they did not have enough time to evaluate the sale before the owners met in Minneapolis.
After finance committee meeting, Jim Irsay says Commanders deal needs work.
“There’s certain criteria that has to be met. That’s just the way it is. And it’s not there yet. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get…(to) a deal that complies within league rules. We’re trying to do… pic.twitter.com/QabvdcJzQp
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) May 22, 2023
“Everyone wants to get it done and it’s [about] seeing that it just complies with league policy,” said Irsay. “It’s a complicated deal so we’re trying to just work through it and we’re hopeful that we can get it done.”
Every new deal requires additional scrutiny, according to Irsay, who said that “deals are getting more complicated than ever with the numbers getting up there.”
The NFL bylaws require that purchases of NFL teams require a principal owner with a 30% stake in the team. There are financial and character checks any new owner must pass, including a history of financial stability and the ability to put down a substantial stake upfront before financing.
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The ownership group cannot contain more than 25 buyers. The Harris group has at least 12 limited partners, according to ESPN. The NFL is also wary of diffusing ownership across many shares, preventing non-profit groups, publicly traded companies, or private equity groups from owning teams.
These complications delay the finance committee’s ability to fully investigate any ownership group to make sure that they are in full compliance with NFL rules.
This sale comes with a particularly relevant background, as Snyder has been accused of, among other things, using his ownership with the Commanders to engage in financial impropriety.
Irsay said that they hoped to get it done before the season and that they were several weeks of discussion away from “the goal line” on this discussion. Last year, the late agreement on the sale of the Denver Broncos to the Walton-Penner group delayed NFL approval until early August.