The Washington Commanders American football team and Manchester United’s European football team are playing a transatlantic game, but not on the pitch but in the world of finance. While the bid for the English team continues, the owner of the Commanders finalizes the sale of the team for 6,000 million dollars (about 5,500 million euros) in what would be the highest price ever paid by a sports club. And, in turn, the bar to be overcome by Manchester.
The principle of agreement has been advanced by the specialized media Sportico. The buyers are a consortium led by Josh Harris, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and the ice hockey New Jersey Devils. Together with him, the billionaire Mitchel Ralles and the former star of the Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson would participate in the operation.
Daniel Snyder has been trying to sell the Commanders since last year, the name the club adopted last year after abandoning the Redskins name in the summer of 2020 due to its racist connotations and renamed Washington Football Team for two seasons.
The owner himself and several club managers are being investigated for allegations of sexual harassment and financial irregularities in the management of the club. The operation is the way out that Snyder has found to avoid his dismissal and a forced sale by decision of the other owners of the professional football league, the NFL.
Daniel Snyder and his wife, Tanya Snyder, opened the sales process last fall, for which candidates such as the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, who ultimately did not present an offer, sounded. Two weeks ago it was learned that the Harris and Ralles group had submitted a proposal and that it was competing with another from Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos.
The 6,000 million dollars in which the operation has been encrypted represent the largest amount of money for which a sports club has been sold in the United States. Surpassing the $4.65 billion paid by Walmart heir Rob Walton’s group for the Denver Broncos last year. That June 2022 transaction surpassed the then-record $2.2 billion paid for the Carolina Panthers by David Tepper in the NFL and the $2.3 billion for Joe Tsai’s purchase of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
It also exceeds the purchase of Chelsea, the British soccer team, by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club, in 2022, a transaction valued at around 5,000 million euros. But whether or not the Commanders sale becomes a new world record may depend on whether it closes before or after Manchester United’s. Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, president of BIQ, the Islamic Bank of Qatar, the second financial institution of the largest gas producer in the Persian Gulf, has offered at least 6,000 million euros to buy the British club, as was learned a few weeks ago. . That is the minimum figure that the owners of the English club, the Glazer family, expected.
The sale of the Commnders must be approved by the NFL financial commission and by three-quarters of the owners of the rest of the professional league clubs.
Snyder bought his childhood team in 1999 for $750 million and, despite mounting criticism, has repeatedly said he would never sell it. But dozens of former employees reported incidents of sexual harassment while working for the Washington club starting in the summer of 2020, prompting an initial league investigation that led to a $10 million fine and Snyder’s removal from the day. to day of the management of the club. The bad practices even reached a commission of the United States House of Representatives, which also opened an investigation that pointed to Snyder as responsible for the toxic culture in the club. The owner was risking a forced sale.
The new owners will take over a club that won the Super Bowl three times in the 1980s and early 1990s but is a long way from those glory days. The team has qualified for the playoffs only six times in the last 24 seasons.
The owners’ first challenge will be to launch a project for a new stadium to replace the aging FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, where the team has been since 1997, but which is in poor condition. The Washington club ranked last in the league in fan attendance in 2022 and was next to last in 2021.
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Source: EL PAIS