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Josh Harris

Josh Harris Said to Strike $6B Deal for NFL’s Washington Commanders

Harris also stakes in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Crystal Palace FC of the English Premier League. 

(Bloomberg) -- A group led by billionaire Josh Harris has reached a deal to buy the NFL’s Washington Commanders for $6 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, in what would be the largest amount ever paid for a US professional sports team.

The group aims to execute a contract for the team in the coming days, said the person, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. 

Harris, a co-founder of Apollo Global Management Inc., is leading a group of investors including NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, fellow billionaire Mitchell Rales and Blackstone Inc. executive David Blitzer. They bid for the Commanders last month, Bloomberg News previously reported, and their path cleared this week with Inc. founder Jeff Bezos dropping out of contention for the franchise.

The deal is not yet finalized, the person said.

A spokesperson for Harris declined to comment. A representative for Bank of America Corp., which current team owners Dan and Tanya Snyder hired to weigh options including a sale, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Harris, 58, has an estimated net worth of $7.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Through their sporting investment firm Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Harris and Blitzer have stakes in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Crystal Palace FC of the English Premier League. 

They also acquired a portion of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020, and will need to divest their stake should they finalize their purchase of the Commanders.

The $6 billion price tag makes the Commanders far and away the most expensive US sports franchise purchase on record. It eclipses the $4.65 billion that Rob Walton, a member of the Walmart Inc. dynasty, spent to acquire the NFL’s Denver Broncos last year.

The sale will cap a tumultuous era for the Commanders under Snyder, who bought the franchise for $800 million in 1999. The team went through a high-profile name change and a House Oversight Committee investigation that found the owner was responsible for maintaining a toxic workplace culture.

Read more: Washington Commanders Hid Sexual Misconduct, Report Finds

Sportico first reported the news of the Harris group’s deal for the Commanders. 

--With assistance from Kamaron Leach.

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