A group led by billionaire investor Josh Harris has agreed to buy the NFL’s Washington Commanders from longtime owner Dan Snyder and his family.
The sides announced the deal in a joint statement Friday, roughly a month after they reached an agreement in principle on the sale for a record $6.05 billion.
The deal is the highest price paid for a North American professional sports franchise. It is still pending approval of three-quarters of NFL owners and other customary closing conditions.
Harris’ group includes Washington-area billionaire Mitchell Rales and basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Snyder has owned the team since 1999.
“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,” Snyder and his wife, Tanya Snyder, said in a joint statement with Harris on Friday.
“We look forward to the prompt completion of this transaction and to rooting for Josh and the team in the coming years,” the Snyders said.
Once the deal is approved, Harris would own controlling stakes in teams in three of the four major North American pro sports leagues. He and David Blitzer have owned the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers since 2011 and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils since 2013.
"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," Harris said in the statement.
Harris has owned a piece of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which he needs to sell before getting the Commanders.
The price for the Commanders tops the previous record of $4.65 billion set when Walmart heir Rob Walton’s group bought the Denver Broncos last year. Johnson, the basketball Hall of Famer who also owns part of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, was also part of Harris’ bid for the Broncos.
Snyder bought his boyhood favorite team in 1999 for $750 million and despite mounting criticism repeatedly said he’d never sell. That changed after multiple investigations by the league and Congress into Washington’s workplace misconduct and potential improprieties. The congressional investigation found Snyder played a role in a toxic culture.