The sale of the Washington Commanders could bring in an estimated $5 to $6 billion, and a new stadium would need to be built

While it’s still unclear whether Dan Snyder intends to sell part, some, or all of his Washington Commanders franchise, sentiment is growing in the league that the entire team will be up for sale.

That’s according to multiple sources in the league who spoke to CBS Sports this week after the Commanders announced on Wednesday that they’d hired a bank “to review possible transactions.”

A source familiar with the bidding process estimated the team would sell for between $5 billion and $6 billion.

It’s possible Snyder is making a cash call here, hoping to sell a fraction of the franchise to someone for an inflow of cash that he can then use to fund a much-needed new stadium. But finding people to buy into a franchise with a history of controversy under Snyder’s helm — with no direct connection to a controlling stake — seems difficult.

It is also possible that no sale takes place at all. A source has suggested Snyder may be doing this to buy some time and take people off his back as controversy and investigations mount.

Still, the news came just two weeks after Snyder said through a spokesman that he and his wife, Tanya, would not consider selling the franchise. Colts owner Jim Irsay said at the October league owners’ meetings in New York that it made sense to remove Snyder as the commanders’ owner as part of several investigations. A source told CBS Sports that another owner recently expressed privately that they didn’t think Snyder would come out of recent ownership maintenance controversies.

“I just don’t think it’s going to be cut and dried like that,” said a league source who’s known Snyder for years of a possible outright sale of the team.

The NFL has launched two investigations into Snyder, both of which are being led by former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White. One concerns allegations of sexual assault by a former Washington employee, the other deals with alleged financial irregularities against the commanders that go back more than a decade.

Earlier this week, ESPN reported that the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia had opened a criminal investigation into allegations of financial impropriety. The bureau declined to comment to CBS Sports, but multiple sources said at least one person was being questioned in connection with the possible investigation.

Roger Goodell and a league spokesman said there was no timeline for the white investigation to be completed, although a source recently told CBS Sports that completion was “weeks rather than months” away. The league has promised to release the report’s findings, in contrast to the investigation into Beth Wilkinson, which resulted in Snyder’s fine and suspension, which the league says is ongoing but is disputed by his attorneys.

Jason Friedman, a 24-year-old clerk at the Washington franchise, told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in March about alleged financial irregularities that had taken place at the club over a number of years. Using years of emails he had saved before his 2021 sacking, Friedman explained to the government the alleged scheme whereby the team would sell tickets at one price and then sign up at a lower price. Ultimately, the difference would be pocketed by the team rather than going into the revenue sharing pool as required by league rules.

Friedman estimated this practice had been done about a dozen times, and each time it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although Friedman did not directly accuse Snyder of knowing about this alleged plan, when asked if Snyder knew about it, Friedman said, “I think so.”

Snyder has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the turnaround is significant for Snyder. Much like he’d said for years that he wouldn’t change the team’s name, he’d similarly buried himself that he wouldn’t consider selling the team until October. Sources believe he’s feeling the mounting pressure, though the majority of team owners have heeded NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s call to remain silent publicly and await the outcome of the investigation.

“It’s cumulative. The building is falling apart,” said a league source of the problems with Snyder, including the need for a new stadium. “Bring in potential financial impropriety. It’s just not a guy you want in the club.”

Who could be next in the club? Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, wholesale mortgage lender Mat Ishbia, media mogul Byron Allen and private equity investor Joshua Harris would be leading candidates for ownership control, which would require the ability to write a check for at least $2 billion. dollars to even be considered.

As the franchise would need a stadium and local governments would work with a new owner to achieve this goal, funds would be needed to ensure a new stadium was built, which could slightly bring the price down. Essentially, you’re buying a franchise and a stadium, but the stadium is an ostensible demolition.

Allen would become the first black controlling owner in NFL history should he ultimately prevail. Other interested parties would need to consider adding limited partners from a variety of backgrounds, as the league has shown since the Broncos sale was a key element for new owners.

Still, Snyder wouldn’t have to sell to the highest bidder. The Commanders wouldn’t be an auction like the Broncos, and Snyder could choose who to sell to. Snyder decides to sell it to Bezos, the owner of a newspaper who Snyder believes has treated him unfairly, which may not happen.

A league source wondered how interested Bezos was in the team. He owns the Washington Post, so his connections to the area are clear. Amazon Prime has partnered with the league to deliver Thursday Night Football. And he was pretty conspicuous alongside Goodell in the opening game between the Bills and the Rams.

But Bezos, one of the richest people in the world, also serves as someone who can skyrocket any team’s price tag if they believe he’s involved.

“If I’m the league, the longer I can keep him as a stalker the better,” a source said.


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