Jul 20, 2023 - Sports

Commanders fans count down to impending sale vote

The mascot Major Tubby was unveiled in January. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

NFL owners are expected to vote Thursday on the sale of the Washington Commanders to private equity billionaire Josh Harris and his investment partners.

Why it matters: The end of Dan Snyder's ownership provides a chance to reboot the team and build a new stadium.

What's happening: Three-fourths of the league's 32 owners will need to approve the sale, after Snyder agreed in April to a $6.05 billion deal with Harris.

  • A pep rally is scheduled on Friday afternoon at FedEx Field, presumably with the new owners.

Context: Harris owns the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL's New Jersey Devils.

  • The group includes Harris' longtime sports investment partner David Blitzer, Maryland billionaire Mitchell Rales, NBA legend Magic Johnson, former Google chief Eric Schmidt, and local businessman Mark Ein, among others.

Zoom in: Harris grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., and attended The Field School, while Rales hails from Bethesda and went to Walt Whitman.

  • When the deal became official, Ein wrote that it was the "honor of a lifetime to partner with Josh Harris, one of my best lifelong friends from when we first met in kindergarten at Rollingwood Elementary School in Chevy Chase, MD, and another dear friend Mitch Rales to buy our hometown team."

What to watch: Harris already has a record as a sports team owner, which gives fans a chance to read the tea leaves a bit.

  • In Philadelphia, his turnaround effort involved a painstakingly long rebuilding plan dubbed "The Process," in which the 76ers went 47-199 over three seasons.
  • Harris also cut ticket prices for the team and saw attendance jump.

When it comes to a venue, Harris might prefer to relocate the Commanders back to the District, if his moves in Philadelphia are any indication. (He wants to move the 76ers to downtown Philly.)

Of note: Former SEC chair Mary Jo White's investigation into Snyder and the Commanders is also ongoing with a report expected to be released this year.

What's next: Commanders training camp begins next Thursday in Ashburn.


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