The Washington Commanders and 76ers majority owner Josh Harris have entered into a purchase and sale agreement, per Ian Rapaport of NFL Network. The agreement is still subject to NFL approval and will likely be voted on in their next annual spring meeting in Minneapolis on May 22.
76ers Owner Josh Harris Officially Buys Washington Commanders
Last year, NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion dollars in their Minneapolis meeting in August. The estimated price for the Commanders is $6 billion.
Harris is a majority member of several sports teams, including the 76ers and New Jersey Devils. He also owns a minority share in Crystal Palace F.C. Harris also owns a minority share in the Pittsburgh Steelers, which he will have to sell off before completing the sale with the Commanders, per NFL rule.
Harris enters the Commanders alongside ownership group members Mitch Rales, David Blitzer, and Magic Johnson. Other competitors for the sale included Canadian billionaire Steve Apostopolous. Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos had been floated as another possibility, but had been blocked from entering a bid, per the Athletic.
In a statement released to the press, Harris said, “I want to express how excited we are to be considered by the NFL to be the next owners of the Washington Commanders and how committed we are to delivering a championship-caliber franchise for this city and its fanbase.”
Legendary Washington coach Joe Gibbs told Rapaport, “I’ve 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 the Commanders.”
Gibbs added, “The NFL has grown a great deal 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 culture — championship teams are created. Josh and his team share these values and I am committed to doing what I can to re-connect this great franchise to the community, fanbase, and alumni.”
Current Commanders co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder released a statement, saying, “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement for the sale of the Commanders franchise with Josh Harris, an area native, and his impressive group of partners. We look forward to the prompt completion of this transaction and to rooting for Josh and the team in coming years”
Dan Snyder has been under the microscope for years and was seemingly forced to sell the team following a pileup of separate but related scandals that touched on workplace behavior, financial practices, league revenue concerns, and an inability to close on a new stadium deal.
It is not clear whether the deal Harris struck with the Commanders will indemnify Snyder against legal liability for his conduct while owner of the team.
Last year, the Commanders finished fourth in the NFC East with an 8-8-1 record. They are expected to retain head coach Ron Rivera and team president Jason Wright through the 2023 season.