Home » NFL owners unanimously approve sale of Commanders to Harris group

NFL owners unanimously approve sale of Commanders to Harris group

by Mahmmod Shar

Dan Snyder bought the Commanders in 1999

The NFL owners have unanimously approved the sale of the Washington Commanders to a group led by Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris, officially ending Dan Snyder’s more than two decade run as team owner.

“Congratulations to Josh Harris and his impressive group of partners. Josh will be a great addition to the NFL,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday in a statement. “He has a remarkable record in business, sports and in his communities. The diverse group that Josh has put together is outstanding for its business acumen and strong Washington ties, and we welcome them to the NFL as well.

“I met Josh several years ago, prior to his acquisition of an interest in the (Pittsburgh) Steelers and have been fortunate to get to know him better over the past few months. I know he has a commitment to winning on the field, but also to running an organization that everyone will be proud of — and to making positive contributions in the community.”

Both sides released a joint statement in May announcing the deal, which had previously been agreed upon a month earlier. Sources told The Associated Press at the time that Harris agreed to purchase the team for a record $6.05 billion, the highest price tag paid for a North American professional sports team. 

Josh Harris speaks at a press conference
Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris speaks during a press conference at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex in Camden, N.J., on July 12, 2019. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

“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, said in a statement in May. “We look forward to the prompt completion of this transaction and to rooting for Josh and the team in the coming years.”

“On behalf of our entire ownership group … 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 fan base,” Harris said in his statement. 

Josh Harris addresses media
Harris addresses the media prior to a game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Sept. 20, 2019. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The team’s sale to the group led by Harris, which includes NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, investor and sports team owner David Blitzer, and American billionaire Mitchell Rales, was largely welcomed following the August 2020 accusations of a toxic work environment. 

Snyder first bought the Commanders in 1999 for $750 million. Calls for Snyder to sell the team grew after a number of investigations by the NFL and Congress into accusations of widespread workplace misconduct and potential financial improprieties.

The league levied a $10 million fine against the organization and directed Snyder to step away from day-to-day operations. The subsequent investigation by lawmakers also found that Snyder played a significant role in fostering a toxic work environment and pointed to evidence that suggested Snyder impeded the NFL’s independent probe into those allegations.

In 2021, the Snyders bought out the previous minority owners, and in November, they hired Bank of America Securities to explore a possible sale. 

The deal to the Harris group surpasses the previous record set by Walmart heir Robert Walton, who bought the Denver Broncos last year for $4.55 billion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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