The Washington Commanders will be under new ownership in 2023 and beyond after Daniel Snyder sold the team for $6 billion. With Snyder finally giving up control of the franchise, it’s time for a new era of football in Maryland thanks to the new Commanders ownership group.
Snyder forced pressure to sell the franchise for years. While numerous scandals surrounding the franchise fueled calls for the NFL to force him to sell, the league never had the votes to make it. happen. Instead, it hoped he would voluntarily agree to sell the club.
He publicly stated for years that he would never sell the NFL team he grew up rooting for. However, with NFL franchise values increasing and ongoing federal and legal investigations into allegations made against him, Snyder has a deal in place to sell the Commanders.
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Here’s everything you need to know about the new Washington Commanders ownership group.
Who bought the Washington Commanders?
The Commanders are being purchased by an ownership group led by billionaires Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales, along with NBA legend Magic Johnson. While Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos was involved in the bidding war, Harris’ group was viewed as the only viable suitor in the late stages of the process.
One of. the primary reasons why the Harris-led group will be buying the Commanders is because their funding met NFL rules. The league introduced a new stipulation in 2022 that had a direct impact on the Commanders’ sale and any future deal to buy a club. Under new NFL rules, all bids for a team must have at least 30 percent liquidity for approval, meaning nearly 1/3 of the $6 billion offer made by Harris’ group must be cash.
By meeting that requirement and already being vetted by the NBA and NHL, it’s expected that the NFL will approve the sale when it is officially submitted at the next owners’ meeting. While 24 votes, 75 percent of team owners, are required for a sale to be approved, the Commanders’ sale should receive unanimous approval just as the Broncos’ deal received in 2022.
Josh Harris – Apollo Global Management and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment founder
Harris, age 58, grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland and graduated from The Field School in Washington D.C. He then graduated summa cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. Four years later, Harris earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
He co-founded the firm Apollo Global Management, a global private equity firm, in 1990 along with Marc Rowan, Antony Ressler and Leon Black. After earning billions in private equity, Harris turned his focus toward sports.
- Josh Harris net worth (Bloomberg): $7.77 billion
David Blitzer and Harris purchased the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011 for $280 million, purchasing it from Comcast-Spectator. Two years later, Harris and Blitzer bought the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the Prudent Center in Newark, N.J. for $320 million. He also bought an 18 percent stake in the Premier League’s Crystal Palace F.C. in 2015, with all three clubs now under the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment holding company that was founded in 2017.
Harris stepped down from his private equity firm in 2021, wanting to focus his time on sports while still holding a seat on Apollo’s board and executive committee. After being involved in the bidding for Chelsea FC, Harris and Blitzer landed the Commanders.
Magic Johnson, NBA Hall of Famer
Magic Johnson is the most well-known figure in the new Commanders ownership group. Recognized as one of the best basketball players in NBA history, Johnson has been heavily focused on business and sports management since he retired from basketball.
- Magic Johnson net worth: $600 million
While the 63-year-old earned just $39.34 million in career earnings as an NBA player, per Spotrac, he has accrued massive wealth in his post-basketball career. In addition to running Magic Johnson Enterprises, founded in 1987 and worth over $700 million. Johnson sold his stake (4.5 percent) in the Los Angeles Lakers to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and he sold off 105 Starbucks franchises in 2010 for $100 million total.
In January 2022, Johnson was part of the Guggenheim Partners group that purchases the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion and he is a co-owner of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. It’s unclear what percentage of the Commanders’ ownership Johnson will have or how much he is paying.
Mitchell Rales, founder of Glenstone, Danaher Corporation
Mitchell Rales is the least-known figure of the new incoming ownership group. The 66-year-old businessman is a native of Pennsylvania who graduated from Miami University in Ohio. Alongside his brother Steven Rales, the two brothers merged a real estate investment trust into the Danaher Corporation, building it into an industrial firm with nearly $30 billion in revenue, according to Forbes. He later founded Fortive in 2016, an industrial technology company, but he retired from his position with the company in 2021.
- Mitchell Rales net worth (Forbes): $5.6 billion
Until his investment in the Commanders, Rales’ focus has been on art collection and philanthropy. He serves as the President of the National Gallery of Art and previously served as a board member for the Hirshhorn Museum.
How much did the Washington Commanders sell for?
Daniel Snyder sold the Washington Commanders for $6.05 billion in 2023, the most expensive sports team sale in American history. It broke the previous record, set by the Denver Broncos ($4.65 billion) in 2022. Snyder sold the Commanders to a group led by Harris, Johnson and Rales.
It’s a massive turnaround considering Snyder bought Washington’s NFL franchise for $750 million in 1999, with the assistance of a $350 million loan. He later bought out the minority stakes in the Commanders, 40.5 percent of the ownership stake, for $850 million in 2021. As part of that agreement, he received a $450 million debt waiver from the NFL.
Here is a brief rundown of the Washington Commanders ownership history, from their founding in 1932 to today.
- 2023 – Present: Josh Harris, Mitchell Rales and Magic Johnson
- 1999 – 2023: Daniel Snyder
- 1997 – 1998: Wanda Wiser, Howard Sodoway, Vincent Salazar, James Lacher, Stuart Haney, John Kent Cooke, Ralph Kent Cooke
- 1969 – 1973: Edward Bennett Williams, Jack Kent Cooke
- 1936 – 1968 – George Preston Marshall
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.