Tilman Fertitta – the owner of the Houston Rockets – is the last name to enter the bidding war for the Washington Commanders.
Fertitta, whose net worth is estimated at $8.1 billion, joins a list of potential buyers that includes Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, per ESPNand Washington Post and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The “wealthiest restaurateur in the world,” as Forbes once called him, is not believed to be the prime contender to buy the franchise from controversial owner Daniel Snyder. The Washington Postwho wants to sell the franchise for $7 billion.
A source familiar with sales proceedings told the outlet that things are “a little quiet” with the Texas-based billionaire, who is believed to have visited the team’s training facility in Ashburn, Virginia.
Snyder has been under increasing pressure to sell since the end of the 2022-23 NFL season, in the wake of sexual harassment, hostile workplace and fraud investigations.
Tilman Fertitta – owner of the Rockets – reportedly made a $5.5 billion bid for the Commanders
Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder is facing calls from fans and the NFL to sell
The 58-year-old, who listed his ‘habitual residence’ in the UK early this year, is also facing calls from fans to give up the franchise over a lack of success from the team in recent seasons.
The Commanders last reached the NFL postseason at the end of the 2020 season when they lost the wild card round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They have made the playoffs a total of 25 times in their 91 seasons and six times in 24 years under Snyder’s ownership since 1999, when he bought the NFL franchise for $800 million – the most expensive transaction in sports history at the time.
Fertitta is the owner and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment Inc., which owns a portfolio of companies in the dining and hospital industries, including Landry’s and the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casinos.
He bought the Rockets from Leslie Alexander in 2017 for $2.2 billion and oversaw the James Harden era before the guard was traded to Brooklyn. The Rockets have been in rebuilding mode ever since, finishing last of the Western Conference for the last three seasons.
Harris, like Fertitta, toured the Commanders facility and is a co-founder of Apollo Global Management. He is also a general partner of Crystal Palace in the English Premier League and a silent partner in the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harris was born in DC and attended Field School in Northwest Washington, according to the Washington Post. According to Forbes, his estimated net worth is estimated at $6.2 billion.
Harris was in the running to buy the Denver Broncos last year, but missed out on a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton.
Private equity investor and 76ers owner Josh Harris is also making an offer to buy the Commanders
Snyder turned down Jeff Bezos because of his ties to the Washington Post and his criticism of the team
The 59-year-old Bezos hired New York City-based investment firm Allen & Company to investigate a purchase of the Commanders after it handled sales of the Carolina Panthers and the Broncos last year. It is still unknown whether the billionaire will make a bid for the team.
In November, the Commanders shared the team’s listing in the market after Snyder and his wife, Tanya, the team’s CEO, hired Bank of America to lead the sale of the franchise.
Snyder allegedly “prevented” Bezos from making a bid for the team in January, The New York Post reported. Bezos owns The Washington Post, which has spent the past 24 years criticizing the Snyder era in the nation’s capital.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether Snyder will sell just part of the franchise or all of it. The sale of the team comes as the NFL conducts its second investigation into the franchise’s workplace, led by attorney Mary Jo White.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia is also investigating its own allegations of financial impropriety related to the NFL franchise.
The team has denied any wrongdoing related to both investigations.
Washington’s failed to reach the postseason since 2020 when they were a wild card exit