• M&A
  • July 22, 2023
  • 4 minutes read

NFL Greenlights Sale Of Washington Commanders Team For $6B

The American National Football League (NFL) has approved the sale of Washington Commanders, one of its 32 teams, to an…

Washington Commanders logo

The American National Football League (NFL) has approved the sale of Washington Commanders, one of its 32 teams, to an investor group led by private equity billionaire Josh Harris. The group paid $6.05bn, marking the biggest-ever acquisition of a sports franchise globally.

Advertising mogul Dan Snyder acquired Washington Commanders, then known as the Washington Redskins, in May 1999. He paid $800mn for the NFL franchise in a deal mostly financed by debt. In the ensuing years, Snyder sold minority stakes to investors, including Dwight Schar, a home construction billionaire; Frederick Smith, founder of logistics giant FedEx; and financier Robert Rothman.

In 2021, Snyder bought out the remaining shareholders in an $800mn deal and assumed full ownership. He put the team up for sale in November 2022 amid controversies, including allegations of sexual harassment and financial improprieties. The NFL fined the team $10mn the previous year after a workplace misconduct investigation.

  • Snyder was hit with another fine this week. He’ll pay $60mn to the NFL to resolve allegations of misconduct and financial improprieties. The fine was issued shortly before the NFL greenlighted Snyder to sell the Washington Commanders for $6.05bn, earning him a worthwhile return on his two decades of investment. The acquisition has officially closed.


  • Snyder made his first fortune by co-founding Snyder Communications, an advertising company, with his sister. He sold the company for $2bn in the year 2000, netting a reported $300mn for himself. According to Forbes, Snyder commands a personal fortune of $5bn, mostly from the value of the Washington Commanders. That valuable ownership stake has been converted into liquid cash.

The new ownership group is led by Josh Harris, co-founder of private equity giant Apollo Asset Management (NYSE: APO). Harris has a personal net worth of nearly $9bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Other investors in the acquiring consortium include real estate mogul Mitchell Morgan, basketball star cum business mogul Magic Johnson, former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, and Anheuser-Busch heir Alejandro Santo Domingo.

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