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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Commanders’ Josh Harris Era Set to Begin as NFL Owners Gather

  • Scandal-plagued Dan Snyder exits with a record payday after 24 years as owner.
  • Harris is expected to get near-unanimous support at Thursday’s special meeting.
Josh Harris era is set to begin in DC.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Dan Snyder’s run as owner of the Washington Commanders will effectively conclude Thursday afternoon as Josh Harris’ $6.05 billion purchase is expected to be overwhelmingly approved by NFL owners. 

The most expensive sports team sale in worldwide sports history means that Snyder — widely considered the worst owner in the league  — walks away with a 700% return on the team’s original purchase price.

Harris, meanwhile, gets a fixer-up franchise that seeks a new stadium and to restore faith in what was one the NFL’s marquee franchises before the soon-to-be-former owner took over in 1999. 

Despite reports from a typically reliable outlet, Harris didn’t have any meaningful issues with his bid, and Snyder wasn’t going to derail the deal at the last minute. 

FOS reported in March that Harris was the sole contender in the team, and it became clear in the weeks later, when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bailed on the process, that it was Harris’ team to lose.

And when you’re buying a franchise from somebody Congress concluded allowed “sexual harassment, bullying, and other toxic conduct pervaded” to permeate the team’s workplace for years, the deal would get done. 

Snyder’s time was up.

Harris cobbled together the money through his owner’s fortune and his 20 limited partners — including Magic Johnson — to make it a reality. 

On Wednesday, owners began to filter into the luxury hotel attached to the Mall of America, the same location as a vote to approve Rob Walton’s $4.65 billion purchase of the Denver Broncos last August. 

The Twin Cities is fairly centrally located, and the nation’s biggest mall is only a few thousand feet away from where the owners’ jets were parked overnight. So, it’s a perfect fit for these kinds of special meetings that could’ve been an email (or Zoom). 

This will be the final owners meeting where Snyder will be a topic of discussion, something the owners have long grown tired of focusing on. Had Snyder not sold, there’d been a few more meetings where Snyder’s removal would likely have become a reality. 

As FOS first reported last month, the owners will only have one thing on the agenda: approving Harris. Harris will need at least 24 owners to meet the 75% threshold required, but sources expect approval by a wide margin, and there’s a decent chance no owner will cast a “no” vote. 

The last major unanswered question pertains to the league’s latest investigation led by former SEC chief Mary Jo White. The probe is now 17 months old and could drop as soon as Friday, the earliest all the paperwork and the billions transferred to Snyder could result in the official sale closing. 

Front Office Sports reported before the sale agreement went final on May 12 that Harris wasn’t expected to make any immediate changes to the front office or coaching ranks. The immediate changes are expected to be to improve the fan experience at FedEx Field and for the training camp in Northern Virginia that commences a week from now. 

While Johnson isn’t expected to attend Thursday’s festivities, Harris will take the podium after the vote to lay out his vision. 

For Commanders fans, it will no doubt be refreshing to see anyone but Snyder up there.

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