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It feels like it’s getting close, right?
Latest reports seem to be firming up around the idea that we’ll know who the purchaser is before the draft, which kicks off in 4 weeks on April 27th.
There are a few confirmed interested parties as well as the persistent speculation surrounding Jeff Bezos, who is confirmed to be the owner of the Washington Post and Executive Chairman of the Amazon Board, but not confirmed as an interested bidder for the Washington NFL franchise.
Who IS confirmed?
A lot of locals have latched onto local businessman and philanthropist MItchell Rales as their warm & fuzzy connection to this group, but it’s Josh Harris, a Maryland native and owner (or part owner) of the Philadelphia 76ers, the NJ Devils, and Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment, along with strong ties to the Premier League, who appears to be the one who would be the majority owner in the case of a successful bid. This group has recently added Magic Johnson, who was also part of Harris’ group in the bidding for the Denver Broncos last year. Harris and Blitzer are part-owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers, so Harris can be viewed as ‘fully vetted’ by the NFL (he reportedly would divest his shareholding in the Steelers if his bid to buy the Washington franchise is successful).
“Stevie A” as I will call him so I don’t have to continue to type his surname, is a Canadian businessman who he was born in Toronto and attended Harvard University. He is the managing partner of the real estate firm Triple Group of Companies, the founder of the private equity firm Six Ventures, and the co-founder of credit card firm Caary. Only recently identified as a potential bidder, there have been conflicting reports about whether Stevie A has or has not made a fully funded bid for the team, but it has been reported by several media outlets that he toured the Commanders facility as part of his due diligence.
Tilman Fertitta reportedly submitted a bid of more than $5.5 billion, but was not one of the potential buyers who toured the facility. There have been numerous reports this week that he is acquiring the Hard Rock hotel-casino at Lake Tahoe and will transform it into a Golden Nugget-branded property. This seems at odds with the idea of Fertitta purchasing an NFL team, and appears to be a strong indication that he is no longer a serious bidder.
The Junkies reported a scoop on the sale of the Washington Commanders last week on their show on 106.7 the Fan. Brian Davis, who played college basketball at Duke, and professionally for the Minnesota Timberwolves, was purported to have made a cash offer of $7 billion to buy the team from Dan and Tanya Snyder. This offer was reportedly made last week, and Davis is said to have up to $9 billion available through a group of investors.
Brian Davis is local, and went to Bladensburg High School in Maryland. He has businesses in real estate, and also founded D.C. United Holdings with his friend Christian Laettner, which owns D.C. United. Davis and Laettner were bought out in 2009.
The report on Davis has not been repeated anywhere else and has been met with a lot of skepticism on social media since it first came to light less than a week ago.
When the Snyders made their initial announcement about the potential sale of the franchise in early November 2022, one of the first names to surface as a potential buyer in media speculation was that of Jeff Bezos. In the days that followed, it was widely reported that he would partner with Jay Z for his bid, and the two were spotted having dinner together, leading many people to cite it as evidence of the partnership. Bezos was asked about his interest in a filmed interview in November and was coy, neither confirming nor denying the reports. What is true is that Bezos has had several months to set the record straight and say that he is not interested in bidding on the team, but has never done so.
Media reports and speculation have largely focused on Dan or Tanya Snyder’s dislike of Bezos, with most reports citing the Washington Post’s critical reporting on the team owners (which predates the Bezos’ acquisition of the newspaper) as the reason.
On the other hand, there have also been fairly recent reports (this month) that Bezos signed a non-disclosure agreement in order to gain access to team financial records, which were said to have been kept from Bezos by Dan and/or Tanya Snyder prior to that.
Bezos’ interest in the purchase — if it exists at all — is opaque. Many people believe that buying the Commanders might fall into the “too hard” basket for Bezos, in particular, and that he may simply wait for the Seahawks to be sold, given his deep and longstanding ties to the city of Seattle.
Team President Jason Wright seemed to quash any remaining doubt about whether the Snyders will actually sell the team with his comments at the owner’s meeting in Phoenix this week, but there are some people who will persist in the belief that Snyder is just fu...er... fooling with us unless and until the sale is finalized.
There continue to be reports of a “mystery bidder” who has yet to be identified. Whether that person exists at all is unclear. It could be an idea planted by the Snyders in an attempt to drive up the bids; it could, I guess, be Bezos. It could, of course, be exactly what it is said to be — another bidder who, similar to Stevie A, whose name only came to light this week, simply hasn’t been identified by the media to date.
Today we have two questions in our Reacts survey:
The first question is one we ask routinely, every week during the season and at key inflection points during the offseason — that is, we want to know how confident you are about the team’s direction.
The second question asks you to pull out your crystal ball and predict the next owner of the Commanders.
Comments & Results
As usual, the results will be posted in a few days. Feel free to leave your thoughts about either question or both questions in the comments as I rely on them when posting the results of the survey.