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2 new bidders emerge for potential Washington Commanders sale

Matt Johnson
Washington Commanders
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder evaluates a potential sale of the franchise, two new names have reportedly emerged with interest in buying the NFL team.

Hours after Snyder announced he hired Bank of America Securities to evaluate the process of a sale, Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z immediately emerged as candidates to buy the franchise. The entrances from the two billionaires has immediately sparked a frenzy of fellow businessmen interested in purchasing the franchise.

Related: Top candidates to buy the Washington Commanders

Snyder’s announcement came on the same day ESPN reported the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia opened a criminal investigation into allegations the Commanders engaged in financial wrongdoing.

With Snyder under multiple inquiries by federal investigators and the NFL, the Commanders’ owner who refused to sell the team for years is now open to the possibility.

According to The Washington Post, Matt Ishbia and Byron Allen both have publicly expressed interest in buying the Commanders and each of the two billionaires intends to be part of the bidding process for the franchise.

  • Washington Commanders franchise value: $5.6 billion (Forbes)

Both men previously pursued controlling ownership stake in the Denver Broncos, losing out to the group led by Rob Walton. Denver sold for an NFL record $4.65 billion purchase price, a figure that the Commanders’ sale could exceed by $1 billion.

Related: Washington Commanders facing federal criminal investigation

During Ishbia’s prior attempt to purchase an NFL team, he was joined by his brother Justin Ishbia. While it’s not specific if the brothers would attempt to purchase the team together, they would likely follow the same approach as their Broncos’ bid.

Allen is a media mogul who has long expressed a desire to own an NFL team. If he successfully bought the team, he would become the first majority Black owner in NFL history.

While there will be additional groups and individuals interested in buying the Commanders, Bezos remains the strong favorite to purchase the team if it’s officially up for sale. He resigned as Amazon’s CEO in July 2021 – eliminating a conflict of interest with one of the NFL’s primary broadcast partners – and is one of the richest people in the world.

Importantly, a sale of the Commanders or any NFL team requires the approval of the NFL with 24-of-32 owners voting to pass the deal through. Despite the league’s desire to introduce greater diversity into the ownership ranks, setting a record for the highest sale price of a pro sports franchise and its influence on franchise values would make a vote of approval likely.

Related: Washington Commanders schedule