Washington Nationals ownership is exploring options that may include the sale of the team. One name that has emerged as a logical option is Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.
Leonsis is among 28 interested parties bidding to buy the Nationals from the Lerner family, according to MLB insider Jon Heyman.
Leonsis and the Lerners have a great deal of familiarity. Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner is a partner of Leonsis-owned Monumental Sports. Continuity is a plus, but Heyman notes that Leonsis’ initial offer puts him behind in the bidding for the Nats.
An April report revealed the Nationals ownership group is exploring the option of selling the team. The Lerner family purchased the team in 2006 from MLB for $450 million following the club’s relocation from Montreal to D.C.
The family hired New York-based investment firm Allen & Company to broach potential investors and buyers. Allen & Company is the same firm that helped facilitate the $2.4 billion sale of the New York Mets to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen in 2020.
If Leonsis is able to snag the club, he’d have a strong hold of ownership among the major pro sports teams’ in the nation’s capital. He’s faced a fair share of criticism from fans. However, Leonsis is arguably the most favorable pro sports owner in Washington, D.C.
The potential new owner will be faced with two financial obstacles. One being the contract extension of 23-year old star Juan Soto. Soto turned down a $350 million/13-year deal this past offseason. Pundits believe Soto will seek to be the league’s first $500 million player.
Additionally, the new owner may be faced with the hurdle of getting a resolution on the Nats’ TV rights, which are currently owned by their Beltway rivals, the Baltimore Orioles. That’s thanks to a previously arranged deal by MLB before the Lerner family purchased the Nationals.