Who are the new owners of the Washington Commanders and how much did they pay for the team?
With the sale of the Washington Commanders now looking finalized, we cast our gaze towards the details of the new ownership group.
For many Washington Commanders fans, seeing the back of Dan Snyder could not come quickly enough.
One of the most embattled and controversial owners in the NFL, Snyder purchased the then-Redskins for $750 million in 1999. Weathering years of storms, the final straw was when the Washington DC attorney general filed a lawsuit against Snyder and the team last year for collusion to deceive the public in an NFL investigation over the team’s alleged toxic workplace culture.
The league fined the Commanders $10 million and day-to-day control of the team was handed over to Snyder’s wife Tanya amid allegations of sexual assault.
While the sale of the team was expected to be in the $5.6 billion range, it came as something of a shock when the team eventually went to a consortium of investors headed by DC-area billionaire Josh Harris for $6.05 billion. The deal is the biggest in NFL history and makes the Commanders the fourth most valuable sports team in the world, behind the Cowboys, Patriots, and Rams, but leapfrogging MLB’s Yankees.
Top 50 most valuable sports teams in the world
|New England Patriots||NFL||$6.40|
|Los Angeles Rams||NFL||$6.20|
|New York Yankees||MLB||$6.00|
|New York Giants||NFL||$6.00|
|New York Knicks||NBA||$5.80|
|Golden State Warriors||NBA||$5.60|
|Los Angeles Lakers||NBA||$5.50|
|New York Jets||NFL||$5.40|
|San Francisco 49ers||NFL||$5.20|
|Real Madrid CF||La Liga||$5.10|
|Las Vegas Raiders||NFL||$5.10|
|FC Barcelona||La Liga||$5.00|
|Manchester United||Premier League||$4.60|
|Manchester City||Premier League||$4.25|
|Green Bay Packers||NFL||$4.25|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||MLB||$4.08|
|Boston Red Sox||MLB||$3.90|
|Los Angeles Chargers||NFL||$3.88|
|Kansas City Chiefs||NFL||$3.70|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||NFL||$3.68|
|New Orleans Saints||NFL||$3.58|
|San Francisco Giants||NFL||$3.50|
|Los Angeles Clippers||NBA||$3.30|
|Paris Saint-Germain||Ligue 1||$3.20|
The Harris Group
The consortium of investors who have agreed to purchase the Commanders is headed by DC-area billionaire Josh Harris, who also owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Harris made his fortune in investment banking and has now teamed up with other investors, including billionaire Mitchell Rales and NBA legend and hall of famer Magic Johnson to purchase the Commanders.
Harris released a statement on the deal, saying, “On behalf of our entire ownership group - including Mitch Rales, my longtime sports business partner David Blitzer and Earvin Magic Johnson - 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.
“Growing up in Chevy Chase, I experienced first-hand 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 in the months ahead and to having the honor to serve as responsible and accountable stewards of the Commanders franchise moving forward.
“Thank you to Tanya and Dan Snyder and the staff of the Commanders for their partnership and cooperation throughout the sale process.
“In addition to Mitch, David and Magic, our extraordinary ownership group includes local business leader Mark Ein, Lee Ainslie, Eric Holoman, Michael Li, owner of Range Group, the Morgan family, owners of Morgan Properties, the Santo Domingo family, Michael Sapir, Co-founder and CEO of ProShares, Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO and Executive Chair and Andy Snyder amongst others. Together these individuals and families have the collective resources and shared commitment to support our vision for the Commanders. We look forward to running a world-class organization and making significant investments on and off the field to achieve excellence and have a lasting and positive impact on the community.”
Harris formed a partnership with David Blitzer back in 2011 to purchase the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers for $280 million, an investment that has increased more than ten-fold with the franchise now worth $3.1 billion. The two picked up the NHL’s New Jersey Devils in 2013 for $320 million, adding several minor league and G-league basketball and hockey teams in 2017 to their portfolio.
The Commanders are now the jewel in the crown of Harris’ sports franchise possessions and it is hoped that he will bring much-needed stability to the team. While he has the experience to run and grow a professional sports brand, what is needed in the case of the Commanders is a steady hand on the tiller, one that will allow the coaches to coach, the players to play, and hopefully the tide will turn in Washington’s favor.
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