Washington Commanders Sale: “We’d Like to See it Get Done … But, We’re Not There Yet”
Thursday Night Football flexing (link), host cities for marquee NFL events (link), and rule changes (link) weren’t the only things discussed in Minnesota on Monday. The pending sale of the Washington Commanders to the Josh Harris group was also on the agenda. And according to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, the deal is nearly finalized. However, it’s not quite at the goal line just yet: “We’d like to see it get done. But, we’re not there yet,”
According to The Athletic’s Ben Standig, the league’s finance committee discussed the topic for roughly 90 minutes on Monday.
“The league’s finance committee met for roughly 90 minutes Monday morning but did not present an update to the broad ownership group. Owners meet again Tuesday before concluding. They will not vote on the Commanders’ sale until a later date.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called the Harris group “outstandingly qualified owners.” When asked for a timeline for the finalized deal of the Commanders sale, Jones said, “It sounds like a long process. This is a significant [deal] for everybody involved. Certainly, the fans of Washington. Doing it right and having people of this caliber being involved is worth the wait.”
Jim Irsay said, “Probably several more weeks of discussions” lie ahead. Still, Irsay insisted that having this done before Week 1 is the goal.
“To have a new ownership group in there before the season opener, that would be a goal,” Irsay said. “It’s not an impossibility. There would be a special meeting after July 4 for something like that to happen. I know that the commissioner will continue to look and see what our schedule is going to be. But there’s work to be done.”
Commanders owner Dan Snyder and Josh Harris, the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, agreed to an exclusive deal on May 12 for $6.05 billion, the largest for any North American sports franchise.
So, what’s the hold-up?
According to Irsay, the Commanders’ sale complication pertains to whether or not Josh Harris — the primary member of a bid group with at least 13 partners — could comply with the league requirement of no more than $1.1 billion in debt within the deal.
The recent sales of the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers met those marks. Irsay says that the league won’t bend the rules for Harris and his group.
“It’s tough because it has to comply. The Waltons (Broncos) complied and (David) Tepper (Panthers) complied,” Irsay said. “Everyone knew the rules upfront. … We wouldn’t change the rules now. We’ve thought long and hard about where the rules are at this point, and they’re there for a reason.”