Billionaire Tilman Fertitta is reportedly among the bidders looking to acquire the NFL’s Washington Commanders and is said to have recently visited the team’s training facility in Ashburn, Va.
He has an estimated net worth of $8.1 billion. Fertitta’s Fertitta Entertainment Inc. (FEI) controls the Landry’s restaurant empire and the Golden Nugget casinos. The group owns more than 600 restaurants across the Bubba Gump’s, Chart House, Del Frisco’s, Mastro’s and Morton’s brands, among others.
Citing two unidentified sources close to the matter, the Washington Post reported that Fertitta submitted an offer slightly in excess of $5.5 billion for the three-time Super Bowl winning franchise. However, embattled owner Dan Snyder and his wife Tanya are reportedly seeking at least $6 billion for the team while they hired Bank of America last November to scrutinize options for the franchise, it’s not clear if the Snyders are open to parting with some or all of team.
The last NFL franchise to change hands was the Denver Broncos at a price of $4.65 billion in 2022 — then a record for any North American professional sports team. Last year, the Commanders were estimated to be worth $5.6 billion. Snyder acquired the team in 1999 for $750 million.
It’s rumored that Fertitta, at this juncture, isn’t viewed as a leading contender to buy the Commanders. Other bidders include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Josh Harris — the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Take Bezos Commanders Bid with Grain of Salt
While the Post acknowledges that Bezos is the owner of the publication, it glossed over the point that it has published a series of scathing articles about Snyder.
Nor does the Post acknowledge that other media reports surfaced indicating that Snyder is loath to sell the Commanders to Bezos, potentially out of personal spite. While reports of a toxic workplace culture and sexual misconduct are widely viewed as accurate, Snyder is believed to be upset with the Post for its coverage of him and it’s possible he could take it out on Bezos in the sale process.
On the other hand, money talks and as one of the richest men in the world, Bezos can easily afford $6 billion to acquire a pro sports team. The Amazon founder has been a rumored buyer of an NFL team dating back to 2019.
Between Bezos, Fertitta and Harris, Bezos is the only one that’s not currently an owner of a team from one of the four major North American sports leagues. The Golden Nugget boss owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
Fertitta Casino Ties Not Problematic for NFL
In recent years, the NFL has widely embraced regulated sports wagering, but prior to that, the league took a hard line against wagering. However, that didn’t preclude businessmen with gaming interests from becoming owners.
The Rooney family, which owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, previously owned racetracks and regional casinos while several other owners have had ties to the pari-mutuel world.
Additionally, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has gaming interests in Arkansas, was an early investor in DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG) and is among those pushing for Texas to legalize sports wagering. In addition to owning the Golden Nugget casinos, Fertitta sold Golden Nugget Online Gaming to DraftKings and holds 6.1% of Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) stock.
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