With the latest round of league meetings having come and gone, the sale of the Commanders remains an ongoing process. The agreement which would see Josh Harris become the team’s majority owner is the subject of review from the league and could see adjustments made in the coming weeks, but optimism is in place regarding the chances of the deal going through.
Commissioner Roger Goodell is striking a similar tone on the subject. His comments regarding the sale point to a ratification vote taking place at some point, though no timetable is in place for that to happen. At least 24 owners would need to approve the deal, something which is not expected to be in doubt if the finances of the Harris purchase can be worked out.
“I think we’ll get it to a place where it will be approved,” Goodell said, via Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. “The [finance] committee really just had their first meeting [Monday] on the matter. We really got the documents last week. So we’re hard at work as a staff looking at that, as we do every transaction. There’s a lot of due diligence as well as compliance issues. All of that’s happening and working full speed… And we’ll have a meeting at the appropriate time.”
The desire on the part of other owners to use the sale as a means of ousting Dan Snyder is well known. The latter has become embroiled in a number of scandals and investigations during his 24-year tenure at the helm of the franchise. Those issues have led to indemnification becoming a key talking point in this process, with owners attempting to not only prevent Snyder from receiving legal protection, but also ensure that they are covered against any potential future action by Snyder.
The latter is “eager ” to finalize the sale, per the Post’s report. It adds that the NFL has been in discussions with Snyder’s representatives, and that talks on the issue of indemnification are now “95%” complete. That development is particularly important with respect to the ongoing Mary Jo White investigation into the Commanders. The results of that probe, Goodell has maintained throughout its process, will be made public regardless of if it is finished before or after the sale goes through.
“When she’s concluded the investigation, she’ll let me know,” Goodell said of White. “We have pledged to make sure we tell our ownership. And we’ve pledged to make sure that the findings are made public. So we will do that.”
On the financial side, concerns have been raised about the Harris deal’s number of partners and its breaching of the NFL’s $1.1 billion debt limit for franchise sales. Detailing the matter further, Forbes’ Mike Ozanian reports that $1 billion of the Harris bid comes in the form of unsecured debt. The matter of whether that amount is considered equity (which is strictly prohibited under NFL rules) as opposed to capital could represent a major hurdle. In addition, more than the maximum 24 limited partners could be counted as being involved in the Harris group if the investors in their respective organizations are taken into account, per Ozanian.
The likeliest outcome of this process seems to remain a ratification vote taking place in the summer, but a number of issues are yet to be resolved. Presuming a sale does indeed go through, however, all parties involved will have achieved a significant shared objective.
7 comments on “Roger Goodell Expects Commanders Sale Ratification”
Perhaps the NFL should have a rule limiting owners stupidity rather than their debt.
Seems like the day is fast approaching when NFL teams will be unaffordable, even by billionaire-backed ownership groups..
If your correct it would certainly explain why Goodell is so eager to move into foreign markets where less investment would be required to secure ownership of a team.
Since no one has $6 billion in cash in their wallets, there is going to have to be some changes to the rules on how much money can be borrowed. If someone convinces a lending institution to give them $6 billion, then the NFL shouldn’t care.
I don’t agree with your last statement. The 2007-8 financial recession resulted from lending institutions loaning out billions of dollars on loans they knew would default. The NFL has to be certain a potential owners debt is backed by collateral with real value and not something highly speculative like Dogecoin.
The value is in the team though. The lending institution would take ownership of the team if the ownership group defaults and would be able to sell the team to recoup the remaining amount owed. This isn’t a good analogy really. Comparing professional sports franchises to the housing crisis of 15 years ago leaves a lot to be desired. But for the sake of argument let’s say the franchise is overvalued and the ownership group’s ability to pay has been overstated (the cause of the housing crisis). The league already does this vetting of potential ownership groups in a way that loaning institutions during the housing crisis were not. There were multiple offers at $6billion suggesting that the value of the franchise is market value and the ownership group includes an owner that already owns professional sports franchises worth billions of dollars. I don’t think the league should be overly concerned if the owner’s assets are liquid or not. Mostly the nation’s economic health is not tied to sport franchises the way it is tied to the housing market. A professional sports team defaulting would affect a few billionaires slightly, not the entire global economy.
I’m not an accountant so I have no idea what metrics and factors are considered to arrive at a franchise’s market value. If an owner did default on a major loan I imagine the league would have some contingency plan in place to deal with that. I think the main concern for Goodell would be that shaky financial ownership would make it more difficult to negotiate for those very lucrative TV deals with broadcasters that the league has come to depend on.