The Washington Nationals could be for sale. So who’s willing to drop a few billion dollars to buy the team?
That’s been the burning question ever since news broke earlier this month that the Lerner family was considering selling the Nationals. And for good reason. It’s not every day that one of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams — especially one from the Nation’s Capital and one that recently won a World Series — is supposed to be in the market.
It’s unclear if the Lerners will complete a sale, but they’ve hired Allen & Company, a banking firm that has helped sell other sports franchises like the Carolina Panthers, Houston Astros and Brooklyn Nets to scout for potential buyers. . Mark Lerner, the son of real estate magnate Ted Lerner, told the Washington Post that the decision to hire Allen & Company was “exploratory.”
However, if the Lerners stop exploring and decide to officially put the team up for sale, here are seven potential buyers who might make sense if they wanted to buy the Nationals:
Leonsis, 65, could get his fourth professional sports team if he bought the national championships.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the Leonsis-led conglomerate that controls the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, is reportedly an option to buy the MLB franchise. According to Jason Bishop of 106.7 The Fan, Leonsis spoke with the Lerners about buying the team.
Shortly after news broke that Leonsis might want to expand his DC sports empire, Forbes reported that he might have a partner in his pursuit of the MLB club.
Rubenstein, who according to Forbes has a net worth of $4.1 billion, is the co-founder of investment firm Carlyle Group. If Rubenstein teams up with Leonsis, who Forbes has a net worth of $1.6 billion, it would be the Baltimore native’s first venture into professional sports. Forbes ranks the Nationals as the 12th most valuable MLB franchise, estimating their value at $2 billion.
Rubenstein, 72, and Leonsis are no strangers to each other. In 2018, the two partnered with Michael Jordan — yes, that Michael Jordan — for an investment in esports group aXiomatic.
Yes of course.
If he wanted to, the founder of Amazon, owner of the Washington Post and second richest man in the world could easily foot the bill. Forbes estimates Bezos to be worth $170.2 billion.
It’s unclear whether Bezos would benefit from buying the Nationals, but his obscene wealth has his name thrown around whenever a professional sports team is available. He has ties to the DC area, owning DC’s largest home — a 27,000 square foot mansion he bought for $23 million — and Amazon is opening its second Arlington headquarters slated to open in 2023. .
Josh Harris and David Blitzer
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment executives already own the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. Harris, 57, is a co-founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management, while Blitzer, 52, is an executive at investment firm Blackstone Group.
The group lost the purchase of the New York Mets, which hedge fund manager Steve Cohen bought in the fall of 2020 for a record $2.4 billion. The Mets were the sixth MLB team to change hands in the past decade, along with the Padres ($600 million in 2012), Dodgers ($2 billion in 2012), Mariners (1.4 billion in 2016), the Marlins ($1.2 billion in 2017) and the Royals ($1 billion in 2020).
It wouldn’t be the first time Zients tried to buy the Nationals.
In 2005, Zients lined up with Colin Powell and Fred Malek to buy the Nationals, ultimately losing to Lerner. Zients, 55, is the former CEO of Wall Street investment firm Cranemere and a former Facebook board member.
He served as Barack Obama’s deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget and led the Biden administration’s coronavirus response as an adviser to the president. He announced in March that he would leave the White House this month.
The three-time MLB MVP made an offer with then-fiancée Jennifer Lopez to buy the Mets in 2020, but lost to Cohen. The Nationals don’t have the appeal of New York, but maybe Rodriguez still wants to own an MLB team.
In 2021, just months after his failed bid to buy the Mets, Rodriguez and former Walmart e-commerce CEO Marc Lore joined forces to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves from the NBA for 1.5 billion dollars.
Rodriguez wouldn’t be the first former Yankee to help buy an MLB team. In 2017, Derek Jeter was part of a group led by Bruce Sherman that bought the Marlins. However, earlier this year Jeter stepped down as CEO of the team and sold his 4% stake in the franchise.