Previous reports indicated that a resolution would be coming soon in the ongoing sales process concerning the Commanders. Further developments have recently taken place, though they may not point to a sale being as likely as once believed.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos – who has long been considered the top name to watch amongst bidders for the Washington franchise – has been barred from taking part in the bidding process, as first reported by Josh Kosman of the New York Post. That news comes in spite of Bezos’ stated interest in being a candidate to buy the Commanders, as evidenced by his decision to hire an investment firm just days ago.
Adding further clarity to the Bezos matter, Ben Standig and Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic report that the mogul’s inability to place a bid “has been a reality for months.” Tense relations between current Commanders owner Dan Snyder and Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, have been frequently mentioned as a potential obstacle to the latter becoming involved in the bidding process. The timing of reports that he has never truly been a candidate to buy the team are certainly noteworthy in light of his earlier actions, and the Post’s continuing mention of him as someone who could still play a part in a potential sale.
With Bezos presumably out of the running, two apparent finalists remain. One is Josh Harris, who was named as a prospective buyer after he toured the Commanders’ facility recently. The billionaire has an ownership stake in several pro sports teams, and took part in the bidding process for the Broncos last offseason. The identity of his primary competition as now been revealed.
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is “involved in the bidding” on the Commanders, per the Washington Post’s Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala. That makes him the previously unidentified bidder who was mentioned as the one other than Harris to make a formal visit to the team’s facility with the bidding process close to its first major deadline. That has come and passed, and Maske and Jhavbala report that Fertitta placed a bid of just over $5.5BB; as a result, they add that the 65-year-old is not considered the frontrunner.
That figure falls in line with Standig and Kaplan’s assertion that Snyder’s asking price has come down from $7BB closer to the $6BB mark. The latter amount would still comfortably exceed the $4.65BB price tag on the Broncos from 2022, which itself shattered the North American sports record for franchise sales. The Athletic report adds that underwhelming bids could entice Snyder to simply remain his ownership stake, but also that activity surrounding a potential sale has “ramped up.”
Much is still to be determined in this situation, but Bezos being left out of the bidding process is a major takeaway from this latest set of updates. How much Harris and Fertitta are willing to pay for the embattled franchise will soon become clearer, though, if the previously reported goal of having a deal in place buy the March owner’s meetings holds true.