Golden Nugget Owner Tilman Fertitta Claims He Isn’t Buying NFL’s Washington Commanders
Casino owner and billionaire businessman Tilman Fertitta told CNBC this week that a $6 billion price tag on the National Football League’s Washington Commanders was not the “right number” for him.
He had been rumored to be interested in buying the team since February. During the interview, Fertitta confirmed that he had, in fact, bid $5.6 billion for the franchise. But that apparently wasn’t enough for its current owners, Dan Snyder and his wife, Tanya.
“At some point, you’ve got to draw a line in the sand on everything, and that’s where we are. If they can get somebody to pay them more than that, good luck to them,” Fertitta said in the CNBC interview. “I own a franchise, so I love them selling for a lot. But at some point, I don’t think $6 billion is the right number.”
Fertitta founded the Landry’s restaurant dining conglomerate, and now owns the Golden Nugget casino chain. The sports franchise he mentioned is the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets, whom he bought for $2.2 billion in 2017.
His net worth is estimated at $8.1 billion as of this month. We listed him among the casino billionaires present on the annual Forbes Magazine rich list, which was published just last week.
Now that Fertitta is out of the running to buy the Commanders, it appears there are other investors who may see $6 billion for an NFL franchise as the right price.
Initially, the world’s third-richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, was reportedly considering a bid. However, the billionaire was allegedly blocked by Snyder because he disliked the way the Bezos-owned Washington Post newspaper covered him and his team.
The new favorite buyers are a group led by billionaire investment firm manager Josh Harris, who also owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. His investment team includes former NBA superstar Magic Johnson. Also competing with a bid is real estate tycoon Steve Apostolopoulos. ESPN claims that Apostolopoulos has submitted a fully funded $6 billion offer for the Commanders.
Should anyone post the $6 billion wanted by the Washington Commanders’ owners, it would become the most expensive sports franchise purchase in American history.
Just last year, a group led by Walmart owners the Walton Family bought the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion in a record-breaking purchase.
If $6 billion is the final price, that represents a 44% increase in the average NFL team sale price in just one year.
Forbes valued the Commanders last year as being worth an estimated $5.6 billion, which is exactly what Tilman Fertitta bid. But Snyder’s $6 billion was actually a downgrade from the $7 billion he originally wanted, a Sports Illustrated report claimed.
Meanwhile, Fertitta was confident that he would not be back to bid.
“Everybody that’s watched me do business for the last 40 years knows when I draw a line in the sand, I’m done. So, I’m here, you know, I can close, and that’s the way it is,” he said.