Mar 14, 2023 - Sports

Local billionaire Mitchell Rales enters Commanders purchase race

Mitchell Rales next to his wife Emily Wei Rales at the Glenstone Museum

Mitchell Rales and his wife Emily Wei Rales at the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Md. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

There’s a new player vying to buy the Washington Commanders: the low-key Potomac billionaire Mitchell Rales.

Why it matters: The sweepstakes to buy the ailing — but highly valued — NFL franchise from local villain Dan Snyder has narrowed to a couple of fat cats, Jeff Bezos still among them. The next owner would need to reboot the team and navigate tricky politics to build a new stadium.

Driving the news: Rales joined the Commanders bid led by private equity billionaire Josh Harris, another local son who grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., and attended The Field School.

Zoom in: Rales (est. Forbes net worth: $5.6 billion) grew up in Bethesda and was captain of the football and baseball teams at Walt Whitman High School, per Washingtonian.

  • Along with his brother Steven, Mitchell Rales made D.C.-based Danaher Corporation a global science and tech conglomerate and Fortune 500 company. (The power duo has summer houses in Maine on Mount Desert Island, where Mitchell upset old-money types by tearing down a Rockefeller mansion.)
  • He and his wife Emily founded the private modern art museum Glenstone in Potomac.

What they're saying: Former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted his delight with a meme over Rales getting in, saying, “We are gathered here today to celebrate the size of this W.”

State of play: The $114 billion elephant in the room is Jeff Bezos. The owner of Amazon and the Washington Post was first floated as making a bid with Jay-Z shortly after Snyder enlisted Bank of America in November to explore a potential sale. Bezos hired an investment firm to consider a bid, the Post reported late last month.

  • But Snyder has resisted Bezos’ efforts to bid on his franchise due to the Post’s coverage of Snyder and the Commanders, a source told the newspaper.
  • Tilman Fertitta, who owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets, is another potential buyer, according to the Post.

Between the lines: NFL team owners don’t have enough votes to force a sale, and Snyder is sticking to his $6 billion asking price, the NY Post reported.

💭 Thought bubble, via Axios business editor Dan Primack:

  • Bezos can still pay more than anyone, by a lot. The question for Dan Snyder will be if he values personal grudges more than money.
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