Dan Snyder is currently struggling to sell the Washington Commanders for his original US$6 billion (AU$10 billion) cutoff. It seems that the only individual with the means and interest to blow that kind of capital is the world’s third-richest man: Jeff Bezos. Unfortunately for both parties, there’s plenty of troubled water under the proverbial bridge. And this isn’t one that the Amazon founder can just pay to have dismantled.
Bezos was reportedly banned from a private auction held last week to purchase the team; Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was rumoured to have made an offer that amounted to around US$5.5 billion (AU$8.2 billion), which was in the same ballpark as the offer made by Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
So why is the prolific billionaire space cowboy being forced to sit on the sidelines with his US$118 billion (AU$175.3 billion) net worth? According to The New York Post, Dan Snyder holds a personal grudge against The Washington Post for publishing a series of exposes that alleged his involvement in enabling sexual harassment within the maligned NFL franchise. For context, Jeff Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post, and the fallout from said reports is what actually led the NFL to pressure Snyder into selling.
Regardless, to get the ball rolling, Bezos hired an investment bank to explore a bid for the team and has been quietly working alongside Allen & Co towards potential NFL franchise ownership for some time now. Snyder, determined to avoid being checkmated by Bezos’ (alleged) 4D chess move, has obviously told him exactly where he can stick his offer.
Here’s the real kicker: the other 24 NFL team owners may end up pressuring Dan Snyder to sell the Washington Commanders to Jeff Bezos as a means of raising every team’s value. Should Snyder refuse, they could simply vote to have him removed. It’s a precedent the NFL would prefer not to set, however, given the team’s diminishing fanbase, failure to make inroads toward a new stadium, and series of controversies, they might be left with no choice.
The NFL Constitution & Bylaws mandate that 30% of the purchase price for a team must come in the form of liquid assets. In the case of Bezos, he must provide Snyder with at least US$1.8 billion in cash when the sale for the team is finalised. Ironically, it’s also been reported that Jeff Bezos may opt to sell The Washington Post in order to buy the Commanders.