Updated Nov 2, 2022 - Sports

Dan Snyder hires bank to explore selling Washington Commanders

Dan Snyder

Photo: Al Pereira/Getty Images

Dan and Tanya Snyder announced Wednesday that they are exploring selling the Washington Commanders, a splash of welcome news for a weary fanbase that could also re-energize the push for a new stadium.

Why it matters: Snyder until now has resisted selling the valuable NFL franchise, even after workplace and sexual harassment allegations piled up and the team's performance declined.

[From Axios Pro Rata author Dan Primack: Why private equity won't play in the Washington Commanders sweepstakes]

  • The Snyders, who have owned the team since 1999, said in a statement that they have hired Bank of America to "consider potential transactions."
  • Forbes, which broke the news, reported that Snyder has already fielded four calls from groups interested in purchasing the team. Possible transactions include a full sale of the team or a minority stake position.

The big picture: Snyder was under mounting pressure to sell the team, stemming from investigations by congressional Democrats, the attorney general of D.C., and the NFL.

  • At least one of his peers, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, publicly said last month that NFL owners should seriously consider forcing Snyder to sell the team.

As the team declined on the gridiron, fans fled FedEx Field. Their last playoff win was in 2005.

  • Local lawmakers might be more supportive of a new football stadium with Snyder out of the picture. Democrats in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia have been reluctant to support a new stadium that could financially benefit Snyder.

What they're saying: "I think it sounds like a positive move for the team," Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters shortly after the news, reiterating that the team should return to the District from the suburbs in Maryland.

Zoom out: With the Nationals currently on the market, two major D.C. sports franchises could be for sale at the same time.

What's next: As Snyder seeks a buyer, private equity funds won't be among the bidders, Axios' Dan Primack writes.

  • Unlike other pro sports leagues, including the NBA and MLB, the NFL doesn't allow private equity funds and other forms of institutional capital to own franchises, even if they only hold minority stakes.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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