Some who buy NFL franchises can press a button and purchase 100 percent of the equity. Some can’t.
Those who can, such as Jeff Bezos, presumably decided to wait for a franchise that doesn’t fall into the fixer-upper category. Josh Harris, whose group will pay $6.05 billion to Daniel Snyder for the team, doesn’t fall into the category of finger-snap transaction.
A new item from the Washington Post further details some of the unique aspects of the Harris bid. For example, the Post reports that the deal includes an “earnout” clause that would give Snyder deferred payments based on the franchise “reaching specified financial benchmarks.”
Thie dovetails with Tuesday’s report from ESPN.com regarding Harris’s belief that the sale will unlock significant revenues, based simply on the fact that Snyder is gone.
The deal continues to present various wrinkles that test the limits of league rules — along with the willingness of owners to look the other way, if it means getting rid of Snyder. Per the Post, the NFL’s finance committee believes that the Harris deal includes debt that falls “significantly above” the $1.1 billion limit for franchise acquisitions.
The deal also includes a significant number of limited partners, who reportedly were recruited by a prospectus that makes the case for a major bump in book value based solely on kicking Snyder to the curb.
Again, the fact that the other owners hope to rid themselves of Snyder works to the benefit of Harris. The league is likely to do whatever has to be done to approve the deal and ditch Snyder.
Amid the euphoria over a post-Snyder NFL, it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that the Harris group needs to have the capital in place to properly run the team. If the bid is being held together with Scotch tape and superglue, Will Harris and company be able to compete with the richest of the rich owners, who can get things done without resort to lines of credit or creative accounting practices?
At a time when Commanders fans are willing to embrace anyone but Snyder, they need to ask whether they’ll be getting someone who will allow the Commanders to survive or to thrive amid the other teams. Either Harris is taking advantage of the owners’ collective willingness to let him cut corners, or Harris will end up trying to race the superyacht set in The Flying Wasp.