Now that the tech titans have fallen short in their attempts to buy the NBA’s Phoenix Suns—which included an unexpected bid from an associate of Peter Thiel—the sports franchise hunt turns to Washington. That’s where Jeff Bezos, working with Jay-Z, is widely considered a leading candidate to purchase a stake in the NFL’s Washington Commanders from Dan Snyder. The first round of bids were due December 23rd, the night before Christmas Eve, and at least some came in well north of $7 billion.
Snyder—who bought the team formerly known as The Redskins for a then-astronomical $750 million in 1999—has long been one of the most reviled owners in sports. But he decided to explore a sale as the franchise has become mired in investigations, including from Congress, over its alleged toxic culture. Snyder hasn’t said publicly whether he would sell just a part of the team, his entire ownership stake, or nothing at all. But if this does turn into a bidding war, Bezos—the world’s second-richest person—would clearly have a tremendous advantage. And you’d imagine that Snyder and his army of beancounters at Bank of America would be hard pressed to turn down a full-team sale if the bids really are north of $7 billion, which would shatter records for the biggest sports franchise deal ever.
Bezos never really made sense to me as a potential Suns owner, as I wrote at the time. But the Commanders? Bezos spends much of his time these days in Washington, given his ownership of the Post and his $23 million party house in Kalorama. Unlike the NBA, Bezos also seems to genuinely like football—he’s frequently seen alongside his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, in box seats during Amazon’s Thursday night broadcasts just before her ex-husband, Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, does the post-game show. I imagine some other NFL owners would have questions about potential conflicts of interest—Bezos is, after all, still Amazon’s executive chairman and its largest shareholder, and it’s not inconceivable that the interests of the league’s broadcasting deals might conflict with the interest of an individual league owner. But that can probably be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction, especially if that $7 billion-plus number (or, 28 Washington Posts) is real.