Washington Commanders co-owners Dan Snyder, left, and his wife Tanya, right, announced they have agreed to sell the NFL team to a group led by NBA and NHL team owner Josh Harris, reportedly for $6.05 billion
Washington (AFP) - An investment group led by Josh Harris that includes NBA legend Magic Johnson has reached a deal to buy the NFL Washington Commanders from Dan Snyder, both sides announced Friday.
Harris, co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils and a partner in English Premier League side Crystal Palace, is an asset management firm executive who grew up in suburban Washington.
No sale price was announced but the NFL Network and ESPN reported the purchase was for a record $6.05 billion.
The Commanders were valued at $5.6 billion last August by Forbes magazine, sixth-highest in the 32-team NFL, with their arch rivals the Dallas Cowboys atop the values list at $8 billion.
The record sale price for an NFL team was set last August when a group led by Wal-Mart heir Rob Walton purchased the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion.
The Commanders purchase must receive final approval from NFL team owners, who meet May 22-24 in Minneapolis and could vote upon the deal then. The agreement must get votes from 24 of the 32 team owners for approval.
“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-calibre franchise for this city and its fan base,” Harris said in a statement.
“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.”
The deal also includes the team’s home stadium, FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, plus the team’s headquarters and practice facility in Ashburn, Virginia.
The Harris group also includes long-time Harris business partner David Blitzer, Maryland businessman Mitch Rales and Johnson, a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I could not be more excited,” Johnson said in a statement. “Josh Harris has assembled an amazing group who share a commitment to not only doing great things on the field but to making a real impact in the (Washington) community. I’m so excited to get to work on executing our vision for the Commanders and our loyal fan base!”
Snyder and his co-owner wife Tanya reached terms of a preliminary, non-exclusive deal with the Harris group last month but the deal had not been signed.
“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,” the Snyders said in a statement.
“We look forward to the prompt completion of this transaction and to rooting for Josh and the team in the coming years.”
Snyder has owned the club since 1999. They began exploring a potential sale of the team in November 2022.
Both Dan Snyder and the Commanders are the subject of an NFL investigation regarding allegations of workplace misconduct and unlawful financial conduct.
The team recently settled lawsuits with the District of Columbia and Maryland over the season ticket deposit funds of supporters.
An NFL investigation began in February 2022 after Dan Snyder was accused of sexual misconduct by a former team employee in testimony before US lawmakers, claims Snyder has denied.
After an initial investigation found the team’s workplace culture to be toxic, Snyder and the club were fined $10 million in July 2021. Day-to-day operations of the team were shifted to Tanya Snyder but the findings were not made public.