Jeff Bezos has long loomed as a potential buyer of the Washington Commanders — with other prospective candidates waiting to see if the Amazon founder would be willing to jump into the race.
Now Bezos appears to be exploring that possibility.
Bezos has hired an investment firm to evaluate a potential purchase of the franchise, according to a report. The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, reported Thursday that the technology mogul is now working with Allen & Company — a firm known for handling the sales of the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
Commanders owner Dan Snyder has had the team on the market since at least November when the team confirmed the embattled billionaire had hired his own investment bank to explore “potential transactions.” He has reportedly yet to receive his asking price of $7 billion, with the highest offer apparently $6.3 billion.
The Commanders have hosted at least three tours for potential buyers at their facility, including billionaire Josh Harris — who co-owns the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils.
But Bezos, if interested, has long been assumed the front-runner to buy the franchise because of his vast personal wealth. Named by Forbes as the third-richest person in the world as of Feb. 1, Bezos could likely outbid other prospective buyers.
There have been questions, however, whether Bezos would get involved — and whether Snyder would be willing to sell to Bezos because of his connection to the Washington Post, the paper that has exposed multiple allegations of workplace misconduct inside the franchise.
In November, Bezos said the public would have to “wait and see” when asked about buying the team. Reports emerged early that Bezos was exploring a possible bid with rapper Jay-Z.
“It is my favorite sport,” Bezos said.
Since then, Bezos’ candidacy has been a frequent topic of discussion. The New York Post reported that Bezos may be willing to sell the Washington Post as a gesture of goodwill to buy the Commanders, but Bezos and the paper denied the report. The New York Post then reported earlier this month that Bezos has shown more interest in his rocket company than buying a football team.
But partnering with Allen & Company indicates he’s at least weighing the possibility. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was complimentary of Bezos in an interview with Fox Business this month, saying that he’d make a great owner in the NFL.
“I think Jeff is one of the most competent business people in the world,” Kraft said. “What he’s done, built a company like (Amazon) and built the scale and maintain quality, he’s definitely a tremendous operator.”
The Commanders’ future was also brought up Thursday during new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s introductory press conference. Bieniemy did not thank the Snyders in his opening remarks, and he later said coach Ron Rivera was the “lead person” he talked to throughout the hiring process.
Rivera said he consulted the Snyders — Snyder and his wife and co-owner Tanya — who he said encouraged him to take as long as he needed to make the right hire. The Commanders hired Bieniemy more than a month after firing Scott Turner, waiting for the Kansas City Chiefs to finish their playoff run. Bieniemy, the Chiefs’ former offensive coordinator, didn’t become available until after the Super Bowl.
“It was one of the questions that did come up,” Rivera said about the team’s ownership uncertainty. “Mr. Snyder has been very supportive. We talked about certain things that we had to do with the coaching staff, and he was great about it.”