Washington Commanders owners Dan and Tanya Snyder have reached a preliminary nonexclusive agreement to sell the storied NFL franchise to a group led by Josh Harris, who also co-owns teams in the NBA and NHL, for a record $6.05 billion, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.
The non-exclusive deal is fully financed but not signed, meaning another group could still come in and buy the team. Any deal also has to be submitted and approved by league owners.
A group led by Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos is still involved in the sales process, a source told ESPN.
The $6.05 billion would top the previous record sale for a franchise that had been set in August, when a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton bought the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion.
A group led by Daniel Snyder purchased the franchise in May 1999 for $800 million.
A deal for the Commanders likely won’t be approved until the next league meetings, scheduled for May 22-24 in Minneapolis. The NFL’s eight-member finance committee will examine the documents and then put it to a vote of the other 31 owners. The NFL is familiar with Harris, who was a finalist in the bidding for the Broncos last summer before the Walton group won out.
The deal for the Commanders also includes FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, as well as the team’s practice facility in Ashburn, Virginia. The Commanders have been seeking a new stadium somewhere in the D.C. area. According to multiple people involved in the process, Snyder’s presence — and the investigations into him and the franchise — had stalled the process in the last year.
The Commanders finished 8-8-1 last season under coach Ron Rivera, entering his fourth year in charge.
Tilman Fertitta, owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and another anonymous group were among the others to have bid on the Commanders, sources told ESPN.
A source on Wednesday told ESPN that Jeff Bezos, who had interest in buying the Commanders, was not going to bid on the team.
Harris, who grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, co-founded Apollo Management — an asset management firm — in 1990. He has a net worth of $5.8 billion, according to Forbes.
The Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment also owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Harris and David Blitzer also own part of Crystal Palace FC of the English Premier League.
Mitchell Rales, a D.C. billionaire, and Hall of Fame basketball player Magic Johnson are part of Harris’ group. Rales has a net worth of $5.5 billion, according to Forbes.
The agreement was first reported by Sportico.