WASHINGTON — Magic Johnson has joined Josh Harris’s bid to buy the NFL’s Washington Commanders, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because details of the bid are not being publicized.
Johnson, a basketball Hall of Famer who has become a prominent executive, is already involved in sports ownership with stakes in Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles F.C., and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. He was also part of Harris’s unsuccessful bid to buy the Denver Broncos, who were instead sold to a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton for a record $4.65 billion.
The Commanders are expected to sell for more, which would be the highest price paid for a North American professional sports franchise. Forbes estimates the team is worth $5.6 billion.
Harris along with partner David Blitzer owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Washington-area billionaire Mitchell Rales is also reportedly part of Harris’s group.
Amid multiple investigations into workplace conduct and potential financial improprieties, longtime owner Dan Snyder and wife Tanya began exploring selling part or all of the team in the fall. Any sale would need to be approved by three-quarters of NFL owners, which could happen at their upcoming meeting in Arizona.
Snyder’s ownership has been a hot-button issue for years, since several employees came out about workplace harassment, which prompted a league investigation and a $10 million fine. When no written report of Beth Wilkinson’s investigation was produced, the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform launched its own review of the situation, which included a referral to the Federal Trade Commission.
The league retained former US Attorney Mary Jo White to investigate, and that probe is ongoing. At a league meeting in October, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there was “merit to remove” Snyder — who then hired Bank of America Securities two weeks later.