The Washington Nationals are widely expected to become the next American sports franchise put up for sale. After the Denver Broncs (NFL) set U.S. record with a $4.65 billion deal, the Nationals could also be eyeing a historic sale.
Ted Lerner bought the Nationals for $450 million in 2006 from Major League Baseball and it now is being run by the Lerner family. With ownership of a professional sports franchise viewed as a luxury among billionaires, it seems the MLB club in Washington, D.C. could soon be up for bid.
The Lerner family already hired a firm to conduct an exploratory process. After providing interested buyers with the team’s financial records,it’s widely believed that it will only be a matter of time before a bidding war commences.
According to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, bids for the Nationals are expected to exceed $2 billion and ownership is setting a goal of $3 billion.
It would be an expensive purchase for any group, especially if the Lerners get the price they are asking for right now. Billionaire Steve Cohen, the richest MLB owner, paid $2.4 billion for the New York Mets in 2020.
A $3 billion evaluation would easily be the most money ever spent on an MLB team and it would be one of the highest purchase prices paid in the history of American sports. However, there is reason to believe it could be worth it long term.
Why the Washington Nationals could be worth $3 billion
MLB signed multiple TV rights contracts within the last year that will generate billions of dollars in revenue for the league. Any group buying the Nationals would also be investing in the market that surrounds the club.
Washington, D.C. is ranked as the ninth-largest market in the 2021 Nielsen DMA rankings. The U.S. Census Bureau also reported Washington, D.C.’s median household income at $90,842, compared to the nationwide average of $65,000.
With MLB revenue expected to climb in the coming years thanks to partnerships with sportsbooks and new sources of revenue, now could be the perfect time for someone to buy a franchise. Of course, landing with new ownership could result in upgrades to Nationals Park and a higher Washington Nationals payroll long term.