More than six months after Daniel Snyder began exploring a sale of the Washington Commanders, the franchise is finally changing hands.
The NFL has approved billionaire Josh Harris’ bid to purchase the team, making him the incoming majority owner.
The approval came after a unanimous vote by the league’s owners, with prominent figures like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressing enthusiasm about the development. “It’s a great day for the NFL, a hallmark moment,” Jones stated as he arrived to cast his vote.
Harris, already known as the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, expressed his excitement during a post-approval press conference. “We’re very excited to get to work and to start the new era of Washington football,” he said, exuding confidence in his new venture.
Harris’ purchasing group comprises several influential figures in the sports and business world. Among them are his business partner David Blitzer, owner of the Premier League’s Crystal Palace FC and MLS franchise Real Salt Lake, NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, venture capitalist Mark Ein, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and businessman Mitchell Rales.
Additionally, former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III has hinted at having an ownership stake in the team he once played for.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also weighed in on the sale, congratulating Harris and his impressive group of partners. “Josh will be a great addition to the NFL. He has a remarkable record in business, sports, and in his communities,” Goodell said in an official statement.
The Commissioner also emphasized Harris’ commitment to running an organization that would make positive contributions to the community.
The sale of the Washington Commanders to the Harris-led group was not without controversy. The team has been embroiled in various issues, including rebranding due to its polarizing nickname, fines and disciplinary actions over a “highly unprofessional” workplace environment, and investigations into alleged sexual harassment.
The NFL released the full text of its report, revealing that Snyder will be ordered to pay $60 million to the league due to its findings.
Furthermore, the team was linked to the Jon Gruden scandal, with Snyder reportedly involved in feuds and even threatening to blackmail fellow owners and Goodell amid the controversies.
As a result, in November 2022, Snyder and his wife, Tanya, announced their decision to explore potential transactions related to team ownership, leading to the eventual sale.
The new ownership group is set to pay a record-breaking $6 billion to acquire the Commanders, surpassing the previous NFL high of $4.65 billion paid for the Denver Broncos in 2022.
The “purchase and sale” agreement was finalized in May, officially sealing the deal at $6.05 billion.
With the approval of the sale, the Washington Commanders will now embark on a new chapter under the leadership of Josh Harris and his partners, bringing renewed hope and anticipation for the team’s future in the NFL.
There’s even rumblings that they will change their team name once again in an attempt to completely wash away the stench from the Snyder era.
Should they change their name again?
If so, what should they change it to? (Let’s be honest, the Washington “Football Team” was pretty damn cool.)