From Manchester United to the Washington Commanders, there’s no shortage of pro sports teams for sale. Let’s dive into their projected worth and the potential suitors.
It seems like every sale of a pro sports franchise comes with a record price tag. Recently, the Denver Broncos sold for a record-high $4.65 billion, the New York Mets for $2.4 billion in 2020, and the Brooklyn Nets for $2.35 billion in 2019.
With news breaking that the Glazer family is looking to sell Manchester United, there’s now about $22.1 billion worth of teams on the market across five of the biggest pro sports in the world.
Let’s get right into it.
Projected Worth: $4.6 billion
The Glazer family bought United 17 years back and revealed last week that it’s looking for “strategic alternatives” in regards to selling the team, instructing a private bank to handle the sale. There’s currently no timetable, though reports indicate they might wrap it up sometime “this season.”
- Sir Jim Ratcliffe: A chemical engineer and businessman from the UK, Ratcliffe said in August that he’d buy the team if it is up for sale.
- Jim O’Neill: The former chief economist for Goldman Sachs is reportedly interested in purchasing if the price lowers. 12 years ago, he tried buying the team with Sir Paul Marshall.
Then there’s… Elon Musk?
Projected Worth: $4.45 billion
Owners from Fenway Sports Group are ‘likely’ to only sell part of the club. Last month, the ownership group announced it was looking for new investors after 12 years of ownership, though the latest news on this front is that they want a new investor or investors to join FSG and inject more capital.
- Josh Harris and David Blitzer: One report claims that Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) would be interested in a potential investment with FSG. Jacobs reports other potential suitors, though the latest news regarding a partial sale makes it difficult to pin down specific names/groups.
Projected Worth: $5.6 billion
The NFL would like this to happen ASAP for several reasons, but there’s still no indication about whether disgraced owner Dan Snyder intends to sell the franchise in full or seek investors for a minority stake. He and his wife Tanya hired an investment bank to explore all options. There is no shortage of interested suitors here, so we’re gonna keep this brief.
- Jeff Bezos: The former president of Amazon is currently worth $119.9 billion and has been linked to the Commanders and Seahawks, heck, even the Broncos before they were sold. When asked about the matter, Bezos said he can’t talk about it, but he’s heard the “buzz.” In the interview, his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez said, “I do like football” to which Bezos replied, “There’s not much I can say about that right now. But she does like football.”
Not quite “happy wife, happy life” but it’s pretty darn close.
- Jay-Z: The legendary hip-hop artist turned sports agent (not a businessman — a business, man) reportedly had dinner with Bezos in Los Angeles in early November, around the same time the Snyders made the announcement.
Los Angeles Angels
Projected Worth: $2.2 billion
Angels owner Arte Moreno announced in August that it was time to sell the team after 20 long, mostly underwhelming seasons. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he expects “robust bidding” for the franchise with numerous potential buyers. Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that Moreno should receive a “record price, above Steve Cohen’s $2.4 billion Mets purchase.”
- Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong: He’s the owner of the Los Angeles Times, and partnered with Steve Cohen to try to buy the L.A. Dodgers back in 2012. Don’t be surprised if he nabs the other team from Los Angeles.
- Joe Lacob: Currently the owner of the Golden State Warriors, Lacob grew up rooting for the Angels and didn’t deny interest in the club.
Projected Worth: $2 billion
Another Washington sports team for sale! The Lerner family bought the Washington Nationals back in 2006, and reports came out in April that they intend to fully sell. How about another Washington team owner buys in? That’s what it sounds like.
- Ted Leonsis: The 65-year-old already owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. Per The Athletic, Leonsis is the front-runner to buy the Nationals, although nothing is “imminent.”
If he buys, he’d be the most important man in DC outside the line of succession.
Projected Worth: $2.7 billion
Here’s another example of “the league would like this to happen ASAP.” Disgraced owner Robert Sarver was forced to put the team on the market after the NBA instituted a private investigation. The findings, as defined by the league, stated that Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”
- Bob Iger: Disney’s CEO is an interesting name to watch here. He reportedly expressed interest in purchasing the Suns during the 2021-22 season. Keep in mind, Iger has a solid reputation with the league, particularly when he helped facilitate the NBA bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Oh, and Disney owns ESPN.
Projected Worth: $525 million
Not long after owner Eugene Melnyk passed away in March 2022, his family hired a New York-based bank to provide advice and assistance in selling the team. In November, the team stated one condition for the sale: The team would have to stay in the Ottawa area.
- Ryan Reynolds: The Canadian actor confirmed on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” that he is indeed interested in buying the Senators, but he needs some help digging up some money to do so. “It’s very expensive, so I need a partner with very deep pockets,” he said.
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