From the Commanders:
Dan and Tanya Snyder and the Washington Commanders announced today that they have hired BofA Securities to consider potential transactions. The Snyders remain committed to the team, all of its employees and its countless fans to putting the best product on the field and continuing the work to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.
The statement came after a Forbes report that “Snyder and his bankers are exploring all options and a transaction could be for the entire NFL team or a minority stake,” adding there have already been “at least four calls from groups interested in buying the team.”
The bulk of the reaction to the Forbes report and Commanders statement has focused on the possibility Snyder could capitulate amid his many scandals and the NFL could rid itself of the scourge that is his membership in its club. Which is understandable. But it would be hasty to assume this is a sign the stubborn Snyder plans to cash out.
Remember: Snyder bought out his limited partners in March 2021 — a move the Forbes report trumpeted as “savvy.” But that is an extremely generous assessment of the situation.
Snyder did not buy the minority owners out because of his business genius. He bought them out because he was engaged in an epic litigation war with them. And the Commanders’ minority owners held over 40% of the team shares, according to PFT. That’s a big check to write — and one that required Snyder to get a debt limit waiver from the league.
It seems possible, and perhaps likely, Snyder just wants to offload some or all of those shares and wipe out his debt. He only needs to own 51% of the Commanders to run the show, after all.
That all said: It’s hard to imagine Snyder’s ownership of the Commanders will not eventually have a spectacular flame-out, and sooner rather than later. And even if the NFL or Congress or law enforcement does not take him out, an offer he cannot refuse could.
The Commanders are worth $5.6 billion, according to Forbes. And you could argue that is too low an estimate. They are one of the most storied franchises in league history. They play in a massive, wealthy market with a passionate fanbase. The transition to the new name is complete. And a new owner will likely grease the skids for a palatial new state-of-the-art stadium somewhere in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia region that will not only print money on game days, but host Super Bowls and Final Fours and WrestleManias and big concerts with regularity.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]