With the NFL’s owners meetings approaching, attention is increasingly turning to the potential sale of the Commanders. The shortlist of bidders in the running to purchase the embattled franchise appeared to be set, but a few notable changes have become clear in recent days.
Josh Harris’s bid has gained a noteworthy and familiar ally in the form of Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The NBA legend joined the Harris group, as first reported by Sportico’s Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams. It is unclear at this point how much capital Johnson could be contributing, but he has a long history of becoming a minority in other pro sports franchises.
The 63-year-old has a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, WNBA’s LA Sparks, as well as Major League Soccer club LAFC. Last offseason, Johnson became a part of Harris’s ownership group attempting to purchase the Broncos, which ultimately came up short on that occasion. The pair will now partner once again in the latest effort to join the NFL’s ownership ranks, though the group will face increased competition.
Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos joined the list of interested suitors to tour the Commanders facility and emerge as potential new owners, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Adam Schefter and John Keim. That makes him the third known bidder, along with Harris and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who was identified last month as one of the finalists to purchase the team.
The ESPN reports notes that Apostolopoulos, a Harvard graduate whose personal net worth sits at an estimated $3.9B, had shown an interested in purchasing the Charlotte Hornets. Instead, he has now turned his attention to the NFL and the possibility of being involved in what is expected to be another record-shattering sale in terms of total price if the Commanders are sold in full.
Lurking over this ongoing process, of course, is Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder has long been considered the top name to watch among potential bidders given his immense wealth and proximity to the franchise as owner of the Washington Post. The latter factor, along with the personal tension it has caused between Bezos and Commanders owner Dan Snyder, however, has been named as the top reason why Bezos has reportedly been blocked from participating in the bidding process to date.
As Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports tweets, though, many around the league still believe “it’s only a matter of time” before Bezos submits a bid the other suitors cannot compete with at the 11th hour to secure ownership of the Commanders. For now, at least, he remains on the sidelines with respect to potential new owners, however.
The upcoming league summit has been floated as a time for a sale to become finalized, since it would require approval from the NFL’s other owners to earn ratification. While Snyder’s recent actions have led to reports of a sale being imminent, it might not be in place in time to be finalized by the end of the month, according to Nicki Jhabvala Mark Maske and Liz Clarke of the Washington Post. They nevertheless reiterate that Snyder is expected to sell “in the coming weeks or months,” so a resolution to this saga could be on the horizon.