As Daniel Snyder evaluates a potential sale of the Washington Commanders, many in the NFL are watching closely to see what the record-setting price will be. If a deal happens, it could also lead to the Houston Texans becoming the next franchise put up for bids.
While there is still some uncertainty regarding whether or not the Commanders will be sold, the early estimates for a potential asking price are historic. Months after the Walton-Penner family purchased the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion, an American sports record, that figure will be eclipsed by the next NFL sale.
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Due to a variety of factors, including regional fan base, market size and average gross income, the Commanders are one of the most valuable franchises in American professional sports. As a result, the projected cost to purchase the franchise from Snyder likely starts at $6 billion and a potential bidding war might push it past $7 billion.
At a time when the NFL projects its annual revenue to keep skyrocketing, with the salary cap projected to climb by nearly $20 million each season, there is overwhelming interest anytime a team is put up for sale. As a result, a billionaire paying a record sum to buy the Commanders could have a domino effect.
NFL insider Charles Robinson shared on the Yahoo Sports’ You Pod to Win the Game podcast that he believes the Texans could be the next franchise sold after the Commanders.
“By the way, just telling you, I would not be surprised if we see how much the Washington Commanders sell for, I would not be surprised if the next franchise that gets put up for sale is the Texans.”Charles Robinson on Houston Texans’ future
The Texans are owned by the McNair family, with the franchise being founded in 1999 when Bob McNair bought the expansion team for $700 million. It has remained in the family ever since, with co-founder Janice McNair serving as owner after her husband’s death. Cal McNair, the family’s son serves as CEO.
Why the Houston Texans could be put up for sale
The McNair family oversees multiple business ventures with Bob and Janice’s sons running different operations. Cary McNair serves as Chairman and CEO for both the McNair Medical Institute and the McNair Interests.
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Under Cal’s tenure as owner, the Texans have been one of the worst teams in the NFL. He started as a vice chairman of the team in 2008 before moving to chief operating officer in 2012, gaining more responsibilities over time. In January 2019, McNair took over as CEO.
The Texans’ issues under McNair have extended beyond their on-field play. he used an anti-Asian slur in 2021 at the Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic. The organization also reached a settlement with 30 women after facing accusations of “turning a blind eye” to Deshaun Watson‘s alleged sexual misconduct, with the New York Times detailing how the Texans enabled Watson’s behavior.
- Houston Texans franchise value (Forbes): $4.7 billion
Cal also kept around Jack Easterby for years, allowing him to have significant control over football decisions despite Easterby’s only prior NFL experience coming as a character coach and chaplain.
The Texans are once again on pace to have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, in the early stages of another rebuild that is showing few signs of progress. Attendance at NRG Stadium is also in a steep decline, impacting the team’s yearly revenue.
|NFL season||Avg. Attendance||Capacity %|
|2018||71,804 per game (11th in NFL)||99.7% (13th in NFL)|
|2019||71, 793 per game (9th in NFL)||99.7% (11th in NFL)|
|2021||66,811 per game (17th in NFL)||92.8% (24th in NFL)|
|2022||66,329 per game (18th in NFL)||94.9% (27th in NFL)|
Based in the eighth-largest TV market in the United States and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, the Texans are an extremely valuable franchise. Candidates interested in buying the team would certainly be more than willing to offer $5-plus billion per year, wanting a stake in one of the biggest brands in the world.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the McNair family is watching the Commanders’ situation closely. While the Texans wouldn’t sell for nearly as much, $5-plus billion would be a massive gain for the family with the money helping businesses and foundations that mean a great deal to the McNairs.