Billionaire Josh Harris, co-founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management, has purchased the Washington Commanders of the National Football League (NFL), ending the controversial tenure of former owner Dan Snyder. The deal, which reportedly cost Harris $3.2 billion, was officially approved by the NFL on May 24, 2023.
Harris, who already owns the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL), will now become the owner of the Washington Commanders, a team that has long struggled on the field and has been mired in controversy off it. Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, had been under fire for years for the team’s controversial name and accusations of a toxic workplace culture.
Harris, a sports enthusiast, had been rumored to be interested in purchasing the team for several years. The billionaire has made several high-profile investments in sports in recent years, including the aforementioned purchases of the 76ers and the Devils, as well as a stake in the English Premier League soccer club Crystal Palace.
The sale of the team marks the end of Snyder’s tumultuous ownership. Under his watch, the team was accused of fostering a toxic workplace culture, with allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse being leveled against several top executives. Snyder himself was also accused of inappropriate behavior, including allegedly asking cheerleaders to pose topless for a photo shoot.
In addition to the controversies off the field, the team struggled on it as well. Despite a few bright spots, such as a playoff appearance in 2015, the team has been largely unsuccessful during Snyder’s tenure, failing to make the playoffs in all but four seasons.
With the sale of the team, the Washington Commanders will be looking to turn things around both on and off the field. Harris, who has a reputation for being a hands-on owner, will be looking to implement changes that will hopefully bring success to the franchise. The team will also likely be looking to rebrand, with the controversial “Redskins” name having been retired in 2020.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for the Washington Commanders under Harris’ ownership, but fans of the team will be hoping for a brighter future both on and off the field.