The universe of legit buyers for an NFL team is extremely limited. There are probably only a few dozen people in the country who could raise that kind of scratch—the last team sold for $4.4 billion—and even fewer people who already got it without having to ask anyone else to stroke a check. And the concentric circles intersecting where those who have or can get the money meet those who’d get approved by the NFL’s current owners is even smaller still.
Point being, there’s probably fewer than 10 people with a real shot at being the next owner of the Washington Commanders franchise, which went on the market when embattled owner Daniel Snyder hired Bank of America to advise on a potential sale last week. But that isn’t stopping anyone from throwing their hats in the ring or speculating about who might, and that’s kind what makes all this fun. Two more names popped up over the weekend: Kevin Durant, whose reported interest in his hometown football squad probably has Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai ready to cut a check in support (anything to get people talking about something besides Kyrie Irving), and ex-Washington QB Robert Griffin III, who wants to pony up $400 million and help give local fans a stake in the team.
Whether either bid would be viable is hard to say. In his 15 years in the NBA, Durant has grossed $349.1 million, while Griffin made about 10% of that—33.2 million, over eight years in the NFL, according to SporTrac. Accounting for taxes and expenses, you could assume Durant has the higher net worth, but those numbers would put both in the “need to go out and raise money” category, at least if they wanted to be the majority owners.
Becoming a minority owner—by which I mean owning a less than 50% stake in the team, not becoming the first nonwhite principal owner the NFL has given lip service to wanting—would be easier. Either party should be capable of stroking a seven or eight figure check to get in the mix at that level and Durant seems to be OK with that, telling ESPN that he “would love to give a little bit of my money to be a part of the Commanders.” He could find himself in the mix given a rumored bid from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation Sports agency represents Durant.
RGIII, though, seems like he has something bigger in mind: he says he’s already got a $100 million commitment towards a bid to be a minority owner of the team. Oh, and he’d give 10 fans a stake, free of charge.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) November 2, 2022
Besides Bezos, Jay-Z and RGIII, media entrepreneur Byron Allen is also reportedly putting together an offer for the Commanders, and there’s no telling who might raise their hand next. What is for sure is the next few months will be really interesting around Commanders headquarters.
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