In the NBA, NHL, NFL, and English Premier League, Josh Harris already had ownership stakes in major sports organizations.
But the Chevy Chase, Maryland, native used the Yiddish word for fate, “bashert,” when the chance to buy his local Washington Commanders presented itself. For a record-breaking $6.05 billion, Harris, a co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which oversees more than $500 billion in assets globally, purchased the Commanders earlier this year from troubled Jewish owner Daniel Snyder.
The NFL granted its approval for the deal last week. Snyder, who is the subject of numerous inquiries about allegations of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, was fined $60 million as part of the transaction.
Harris spoke candidly about his experience purchasing the Commanders in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that was published on Monday.
“NFL teams come up once in a generation,” Harris remarked. “When the selection procedure was disclosed, it all became very real for me. I’m a Jew and a man of faith, and I would describe this as bashert.
I could never have thought in my wildest dreams that I would be able to end up owning, participating in, and stewarding for my city, my local franchise, in the NFL. I’m in awe. I feel like I’m part of a bigger mission that I don’t fully comprehend.
Harris, whose estimated net worth is $6 billion, is also a co-owner of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Additionally, he is a general partner of the British Premier League soccer team Crystal Palace and a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harris has backed philanthropic initiatives in Israel, such as a project that aimed to integrate Ethiopian immigrants via sports and a more recent initiative to fight socioeconomic injustice in Israel through youth sports in disadvantaged communities.
Jewish entrepreneur Mitchell Rales, whose parents are the namesakes of the Ruth & Normal Rales Jewish Family Services in Boca Raton, Florida, is part of the investment group that is purchasing the Commanders along with Harris.
The Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA are owned by NBA legend Magic Johnson, who is also involved.