Washington Commanders
Washington Commanders sold to Sixers co-owner Josh Harris, Magic Johnson
Washington Commanders

Washington Commanders sold to Sixers co-owner Josh Harris, Magic Johnson

Updated May. 12, 2023 6:08 p.m. ET

Josh Harris' ownership group, which includes Magic Johnson, has agreed to buy the NFL’s Washington Commanders from longtime owner Dan Snyder, roughly a month after reaching an agreement on the sale for a record $6.05 billion.

Harris, who has had majority ownership of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers since 2011 and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils since 2013, now owns stakes in teams in three of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

Harris’ group also includes Washington-area billionaire Mitchell Rales and business owner David Blitzer, among others.

The deal is the largest for a North American pro sports franchise, surpassing the $4.55 billion Walmart heir Robert Walton paid for the Denver Broncos last year. 

The sale is still pending the approval from the rest of the league’s owners, which takes 24 of 32 votes to pass. 

"We look forward to the formal approval of our ownership by the NFL in the months ahead and to having the honor to serve as responsible and accountable stewards of the Commanders franchise moving forward," Harris said. "We look forward to running a world-class organization and making significant investments on and off the field to achieve excellence and have a lasting and positive impact on the community."

Harris is assuming control of a once-storied franchise that has fallen far from the 1980s and early ’90s glory days, when Washington won the Super Bowl three times. The team made the playoffs just six times in 24 seasons, only won a postseason game twice and went 166-226-2 overall with Snyder in charge.

He also inherits coach Ron Rivera, who has run Washington’s football operations for three seasons — none with a winning record, including an NFC East title at 7-9 in 2020 followed by a first-round loss.

The biggest immediate challenge for the long-term future of the organization is a new stadium to replace FedEx Field, the rushed-to-completion home of the team since 1997 in Landover, Maryland, that has not aged well. Virginia abandoned a stadium bill last spring given the number of off-field controversies swirling around the team.

Getting fans back is a major priority after Washington ranked last in the league in attendance in 2022 and were second-last in 2021. The team rebranded last year as the Commanders after dropping the name Redskins in the summer of 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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