Josh Harris take ‘command’ of Commanders



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HBSE bought Washington Commanders Image: FedExField, Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0

The National Football League’s (NFL’s) owners just approved the sale of the Washington Commanders by Dan Snyder to a group led by Josh Harris (American private equity investor, sports team owner and philanthropist) for a record $6.05 billion – with $5.8 billion down and another $250 million over the next two years – depending on how much local revenue the team generates.

‘Forbes’ stated that adjusting for inflation, the $6.05 billion price would represent a five percent premium to Forbes’ valuation of the Commanders a year ago. (The previous record sale price of $4.65 billion was set last year when the Walton-Penner Group purchased the NFL team Denver Broncos). Snyder bought the team – then the Washington Redskins – from Jack Kent Cooke (Canadian-American businessman) in 1999 for $800 million.

New York (US)-based the National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league that consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.

The Washington Commanders are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area (US). Known as the Washington Redskins until 2020, the team competes in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference East division.

The FedExField is an American football stadium located in Summerfield, Maryland, five miles East of Washington, D.C., US. The stadium is the home of the Washington Commanders of the National Football League (NFL). From 2004 until 2010, it had the largest seating capacity in the NFL at over 91,000. As of 2022, the capacity is 62,000.

‘Forbes’ further stated that last month, the Harris’ group agreed to make adjustments to financing the purchase to satisfy the league’s Finance Committee. The NFL rules require the general partner – in this case Harris – to own at least 30 percent of a team and not have more than $1.1 billion of debt when buying a franchise. The Harris group’s prospectus predicted low-to-mid-double-digit returns on investment.

Harris has 20 limited partners in his group, including Mitchell Rales (Co-Founder of the American conglomerate company Danaher Corporation), Magic Johnson (American businessman and a former National Basketball Association player, considered to be one of the greatest), Eric Schmidt (former Google head honcho), and Mark Ein (Owner of the Washington Kastles of World TeamTennis), the most in the NFL. Prospective investors in the Commanders were shown a 43-page prospectus in March called ‘Commanders Investment Opportunity’.

Harris is the Founder and Managing General Partner of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. In connection with the HBSE portfolio, he is also the Managing Partner of the NBA team Philadelphia 76ers and the Co-Managing Partner, Vice-Chairman and Alternate Governor of the National Hockey League (NHL) team New Jersey Devils.

The Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment LLC (HBSE) is an American sports and property management holding company. Headquartered in Camden, New Jersey (US), it was founded by the private equity investors Josh Harris and David Blitzer in September 2017. The company was valued at $4.65 billion in 2023.

In January, Forbes pegged HBSE as the world’s 18th-most-valuable sports empire, worth $4.65 billion. All told, once the deal to buy the Commanders closes, Harris will effectively run a sports empire worth around $10 billion.

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