Hogan Lovells guides Josh Harris-led consortium in record-setting acquisition of NFL's Washington Commanders

Hogan Lovells guides Josh Harris-led consortium in record-setting acquisition of NFL's Washington Commanders

Press releases | 17 May 2023

Denver, Washington, D.C., 17 May, 2023 – A team from global law firm Hogan Lovells has helped guide a consortium led by Josh Harris in the acquisition of the NFL’s Washington Commanders for a reported US$6.05 billion, the highest value sports franchise transaction in U.S. history. 

Josh Harris is an investor, business leader and philanthropist whose career spans private equity, sports, entertainment, impact and more. He is the Founder of 26North, a next-generation, multi-asset class alternatives platform. Josh is also the Founder and Managing General Partner of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), a leading sports & entertainment platform that includes the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center, among other marquee assets. Josh is also a General Partner of the Crystal Palace Football Club in the Premier League. Earlier, he co-founded and spent more than 30 years at Apollo Global Management.

The Harris consortium comprises several new owners local to the Washington area, and numerous high-profile individuals including NBA legend Magic Johnson, former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, and David Blitzer, Blackstone executive and Co-Founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. 

The consortium won an auction for the Commanders, which had been put up for sale by previous owners Dan and Tanya Snyder. The purchase has been agreed with the current owners and is subject to approval from the league and team owners. 

Speaking on the successful conclusion of the auction and purchase process, Harris, who grew up in nearby Chevy Chase, MD, commented: “I want to express how excited we are to be considered by the NFL to be the next owners of the Washington Commanders and how committed we are to delivering a championship-caliber franchise for this city and its fanbase.”

This is the second major NFL transaction our Sports practice group has led in 18 months – the only two since the 2018 sale of the Carolina Panthers. In June 2022, the team also led a consortium helmed by Walmart heir Robert Walton in the acquisition of the Denver Broncos for a reported US$4.65 billion, nominated for Deal of the Year of Sports Business Journal in 2023. The purchase of the Commanders caps a banner period for the practice group, during which it was awarded “Practice Group of the Year” honors by Law360 for the third time in the last four years.

The Hogan Lovells team advised Harris and the consortium on the structure the transaction and compliance with league rules and policies. The team was led by Denver-based Head of the firm’s Sports practice group, Matt Eisler, partner Mark Weinstein (New York) and counsel Steve Argeris (Washington, D.C. and New York), and lead associates CJ Harrington (Washington, D.C.) and Danielle Litwak (New York) with support from  counsel Eric Andalman (Denver), senior associates Emma Jane Dowell (Northern Virginia), and Peter Dixon (Washington, D.C.), and associates Stephanie Block-Guedez (Denver), Lexi Bender (Boston), Christiana Fell (Denver), Eli Mekonen (Washington, D.C.), and Hanna Wynn (Denver). 

Davis Polk acted as co-counsel.