The NFL will hold a meeting on July 20 where the league’s owners are expected to take a vote on the pending sale of the Washington Commanders to a group led by billionaire Josh Harris.
The Washington Post was the first to report the upcoming meeting. In April, Harris reached an agreement with Commanders owners Dan and Tanya Snyder to purchase the franchise for $6.05 billon. The figure represents the largest price for a team in NFL history.
On May 12, the Harris group and the Snyders entered a purchase and sale agreement. Harris co-owns multiple professional sports teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils.
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Per NFL policies, at least three-fourths (24) of the league’s 32 owners must vote in favor of the sale in order for it to be approved.
In most instances, the owners follow the recommendation of the league’s finance committee.
COMMANDERS’ TRADEMARK APPLICATION DENIED DUE TO EXISTING REGISTRATIONS
For example, the committee in July 2022 recommended approval regarding the sale of the Denver Broncos to a group led by billionaire Rob Walton. The next month, owners voted in favor of the sale.
Earlier this month, the finance committee held a meeting with Harris in New York. Shortly after the meeting ended, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told ESPN that he was “hopeful” about the Harris bid becoming a done deal in the near future. Irsay is a member of the finance committee.
“I’m hopeful because of their inspired aspect and their enthusiasm and their track record,” Irsay said. “We’re just trying to work through those final details. And I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to. I would imagine something in mid-to-late July would be the earliest we’d call a league meeting.”
However, Irsay has previously noted on more than one occasion that some concerns existed about the amount of debt involved in the deal and how much equity was in Harris’ offer. NFL guidelines stipulate that a new owner is prohibited from taking on more than $1.1 billion in debt. Any prospective owner is also required to have a down payment of 30 percent.
Billionaire Mitchell Rales and NBA legend Magic Johnson are also a part of the investment group.
Harris’ bid reportedly surpassed Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos’ $6 billion offer.
Dan Snyder and the franchise remain the subject of an investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White about workplace misconduct allegations. Possible illegal financial conduct has also been alleged.
The NFL decided to hire White to head the investigation in February 2022 after a former team employee accused Snyder of sexual misconduct. Snyder strongly denied the allegations.
The Commanders recently settled lawsuits with Maryland and the District of Columbia concerning money deposited by the team’s season-ticket holders.
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Since Snyder became the owner of the Washington franchise, the team has not been very successful on the football field. During that span, Washington has compiled a 164-220-2 record. The 2005 season marked the last time the team won a postseason game.
However, from 1971-92, prior to Snyder’s ownership, the franchise made five Super Bowl appearances and won three.