The pending sale of the Washington Commanders is drawing nearer and the list of potential owners has changed somewhat over the last few months.
The news came out of nowhere last fall, but it wasn’t overly shocking. Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder was reported to be looking at a possible sale of the team. Forbes broke the story in early November and while it was surprising to see the news, it was also a stark reminder of the legal, political, and league pressures facing the embattled owner.
Not too long after the news dropped, Commanders beat reporters, analysts, and fans began to speculate. Who will step forward and be the new owner(s) of the Burgundy and Gold? Yours truly began to think about the team’s future as well and, as you may recall, a list of potential buyers was posted here. We ranked each person/group with our own odds.
Today, we have an updated list with new odds and what may happen in the coming weeks. It was revealed during the first weekend of the playoffs that a first round of bidding for the team had occurred. Early favorite Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon, did not submit a bid, but it would be very premature to count him out of the derby to acquire the Commanders.
Also, mortgage mogul Mat Ishbia has dropped out of the bidding sweepstakes after buying the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Let’s take a look at the latest list and the current odds from this desk to your reading device.
The Bottom Tier
- Media giant Byron Allen made a valiant attempt to purchase the Denver Broncos, but fell short. His net worth is estimated to be $1 billion and that makes him a longshot – even with partners. Odds: 50-1
- Steve Pagliuca is the co-chairman of Bain Capital and a co-owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics. He also owns a majority stake in an Italian soccer team. His personal wealth is estimated at nearly $4 billion. Unless Pagliuca brings in multiple partners, he is not a likely candidate. Odds: 40-1
- John Henry/Fenway Sports Group could be interested, but it seems lukewarm at best. Odds: 40-1
The Middle Tier
- Robert Smith is the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners and his net worth is estimated at $8 billion – perhaps a bit more. There has been some speculation that he could make a bid, but that seems to be the product of rumors and internet chatter. Odds: 30-1
- In the middle tier we are listing, “Unknown.” Could a surprise bid come from Dell chairman Michael Dell or former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer? Is there another surprise bidder out there? Odds: 30-1
- Jose Feliciano and Behdad Eghbali are the co-founders of Clearlake Capital and they are worth more than $4 billion. They came up short in a bid to buy the Denver Broncos last year and are very interested in owning the Commanders. They will need partners to make it work. The pair tried to buy a minority share of the team more than two years ago and Snyder declined. Odds: 20-1
The Upper Tier
- Josh Harris and David Blitzer probably have a strong interest in buying the Commanders and they have ownership in various sports teams. Harris is worth about $7 billion and Blitzer checks in at nearly $1.5 billion. Odds: 8-1
- Todd Boehly and Mark Walter are very likely in the bidding for the Commanders. They have a solid chance, especially if they bring Jose Feliciano and Behdad Eghbali as minority owners. Boehly is worth more than $5 billion and Walter is also worth the same. Keep an eye on this pair. Odds: 2-1
- Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z are certainly interested in acquiring the Commanders. Don’t let the no-bid in the first round fool you. They could bring in super fan actor Matthew McConaughey as a minority owner. This group should still be considered the front runners, but it could be closer than we think. Odds: 3-2
You’ve probably heard that Dan Snyder will not sell to Jeff Bezos under any circumstances. Bezos owns the Washington Post and that newspaper has been attacking Snyder relentlessly for the last two and a half years. However, money talks, and Snyder will probably consider a generous Bezos offer that is too good to ignore. Look for a sale before the NFL owners meeting in late March.
A major change is coming to Commanders Park and fans are excited. See you as we go along.