Beyond Bezos: 2 candidates that could buy the Commanders originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The easy speculation points to Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Commanders after news broke the team is up for sale on Wednesday.
Bezos has long been rumored to be interested in an NFL team and has roots in the D.C. area. The Amazon founder owns a home in the city as well as The Washington Post. And it helps he’s one of the richest people in the world with an estimated net worth around $140 billion, a $6 billion price tag wouldn’t make him blink.
Much has changed though for Bezos and his quest for NFL ownership now that Amazon is an official broadcast partner with the NFL. The online retailer spends about $1 billion per season for the television rights, and other owners won’t want anything messing up that sweetheart deal.
Is there some sort of amendment or agreement that could allow Bezos to still buy a team and Amazon maintain the Thursday night package? Of course. There are plenty of creative lawyers out there and plenty of billable hours in the quest to make something work, but right now, in the first year of Amazon’s TV package and with expansion plans for next season, it doesn’t seem the right fit.
So who is? Here are some options:
- Josh Harris – A billionaire from the private equity world, Harris is the primary owner of the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia 76ers and is the general partner of Crystal Palace, an English soccer club. Harris grew up in Chevy Chase and attended The Field School in D.C. He made a serious run at buying the Broncos but ultimately refused to enter a bidding war against the Walton family of Wal-Mart fortune. According to Pro Football Talk, “The bottom line is that Harris is ready to pay $5 billion to buy an NFL franchise. He didn’t officially offer $5 billion for the Broncos because they couldn’t guarantee it would have gotten him the team.” Now $5 billion is not enough to get the Commanders, but perhaps Harris is prepared to spend more, or he can find a partnership group to come up with more cash.
- Todd Boehly – A billionaire businessman and investor, Boehly owns a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Sparks as well as the English soccer club Chelsea. Boehly grew up in the D.C. area and went to The Landon School in Bethesda. He also has significant stakes in the media and entertainment space. Known for decisive action as an owner, Boehly and his investors led the redevelopment of iconic Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, one of the few stadium overhauls that drew acclaim from sponsors and fans, and anyone that’s been to FedEx Field knows the Commanders need a stadium overhaul or new construction ASAP.
Both Harris and Boehly seem unlikely to purchase an NFL team completely on their own, and most ownership groups are done in partnerships anyway. One name to keep an eye on as things develop as a potential partner is New York billionaire Shawn Carter. Who’s that? Some know him better as Jay-Z. Seriously.
His Roc Nation entertainment company has a multi-year deal with the NFL and he’s known to want in the ownership circles. With both New York-based teams firmly cemented with family ownership, Carter will need to look elsewhere for an opportunity. Washington might be it.