Josh Harris’ group seeks a quick turnaround, at least financially, when his purchase of the Washington Commanders — and a prospectus lays out some preliminary plans for the site of a new stadium.
The catalyst for the upswing in revenue per the 43-page prospectus obtained by ESPN: Dan Snyder will no longer be around, and Harris promised millions in upgrades to win back fans that have slowly become disenchanted with Snyder’s scandal-filled 24-year run as owner.
“The Commanders historically ranked top in the league across all local revenue metrics and attendance. However, the team has significantly spiraled as a result of allegations against current ownership,” the prospectus stated per ESPN.
A Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment spokesperson declined to comment.
According to the report, the document was prepared in March as Harris’ was already the frontrunner to take over the franchise that went for sale in November.
By 2031-32, Harris expects local revenue — which includes ticket sales and corporate sponsorships — to more than double last season’s total ($173 million) to $380 million by 2031-32, and that’s if the team is still playing at outdated FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, at that point.
The document states that Harris expects to have a new stadium in place by 2031, and the report says Virginia could offer up to $1.5 billion in public funding.
But a source with knowledge of Harris’ approach to a new stadium told Front Office Sports that the team shared the $1.5 billion figure with the final bidders for the team.
The source said “no decisions or commitments” have been made as to the future home of the Commanders.
FOS reported Sunday that Magic Johnson — one of the more than a dozen limited partners in Harris’ group — met with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore. While it’s unclear what was discussed, sources previously said that Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. would be studied as potential spots for a new stadium.
And it’s doubtful that Harris — even with the goodwill he will immediately have amid Snyder’s exit — will be able to get more public funding than the Tennessee Titans ($1.26 billion) and Buffalo Bills ($1.4 billion) for their new stadium projects.
But those stadiums are owned by the state and/or local governments. The Las Vegas Raiders, which own Allegiant Stadium, received $750 million in public funding, the most an NFL franchise has received for stadium construction.
Snyder had sought to build a $3 billion domed stadium in Northern Virginia.
Legislation in Virginia was introduced in early 2022 that at first would have committed $1 billion in public funding before that amount was cut to $300 million. But the bill died in a conference committee and was shelved in June.
Even without Snyder, Virginia will likely again resist committing hundreds of millions in public funding.
But a three-way battle for the franchise’s future home is expected to heat up once Harris takes over the team over the next few months. And that competition could lead lawmakers to be more open to public funding.
The team’s lease with Prince George’s County expires in 2027 but can be renewed if a new venue isn’t finished.
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