Washington Commanders Owner Looking to Sell as Team Facing Federal Investigation Into Finances

  • After just getting the OK for Maryland betting, the Commanders are in hot water
  • The NFL team is facing a federal probe into financial irregularities
  • Owner Dan Snyder has retained Bank of America to sell the franchise
  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is one of the odds-on favorites to be the new owner
Washington Commanders helmet
News of a federal probe into the Washington Commanders has broken just days after the team was approved for sports betting in Maryland. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A mixed few days

The Washington Commanders have made contrasting headlines across multiple fronts over the past few days, including a sports betting approval, a federal investigation, and a potential sale.

The most positive Commanders news flash came late last week when the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) deemed the NFL franchise suitable for an online sports betting license. The team has yet to announce its potential partner but industry observers posit newcomer Fanatics — who intends to roll out its maiden sports betting division in January 2023 — would be the likely candidate.

Dan Snyder is exploring selling the franchise

This week, as Fox Sports writer Carmen Vitali shared via Twitter, has proven a little less positive for the Commanders. The Feds are now investigating the team and owner Dan Snyder is exploring selling the franchise:

Feds take a look

Citing two sources, ESPN was the first to confirm the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (USAO-EDVA) has opened a criminal investigation focusing on allegations of financial irregularities within the Commanders franchise. Front Office Sport later alleged the Federal probe has been active for months, and that:

at least one other arm of the Justice Department has aided the investigation.”

The USAO-EDVA’s investigation, which spun out of testimony given to a congressional oversight committee during the franchise’s third workplace probe, is the fourth investigation into the Commanders.

In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform (HCOR) reportedly said that it had found financial irregularities by the Commanders spanning over a decade. This includes withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans.

According to ESPN, the HCOR claims the team retained up to $5m from 2,000 season-ticket holders in 2016 while concealing sharable revenue from the league.

Snyder explores sale

The news item Commanders fans seem best pleased with, is that team owner Dan Snyder has retained Bank of America Securities to sell the franchise he bought in 1999. Senior NFL reporter Albert Breer took to Twitter to share a statement from the team confirming the move:

A Forbes report then cited a source saying: “Snyder already has at least four calls from groups interested in buying the team.” Morning news producer at Fox61News, Edward Ford, shared via Twitter that US media maven Byron Allen is putting a bid together with an investor group to possibly acquire the franchise:

Also supposedly in the running to be the Commanders’ new owner is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Scott Abraham of 7News DC got onto Twitter to share the betting odds:

Reports are that Snyder is looking at various transaction options, from selling the entire NFL franchise to just a minority stake.