Following the Lerner family’s announcement earlier this year of its intention to sell the Nationals franchise, a group led by Ted Leonsis—current owner of the Wizards, Capitals and Mystics—has emerged as the front-runner to purchase the MLB team, according to a report from The Athletic.
If the purchase is completed, Leonsis would become the second person to currently own teams in three of the four primary men’s American sports leagues. Stan Kroenke, owner of the NFL’s Rams, NBA’s Nuggets and NHL’s Avalanche, is the first.
The sale likely will not be finalized until 2023, per The Athletic. A key factor complicating the matter is the current legal battle between the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), the Orioles and the Nationals.
The sides are arguing over media rights fees, which, while left unsettled, presents a hurdle in agreeing on an eventual sale price of the team. Neither the Nationals nor a representative for Leonsis offered a comment when approached by The Athletic.
The Orioles own about three-fourths of MASN and the Nationals own the rest, and the conflict centers around revenue sharing.
Leonsis reportedly previously had expressed interest in buying the Orioles, who are currently owned by the Angelos family and not up for sale. The Lerners originally purchased the Nationals in 2006 for $450 million. Under their stewardship, the franchise won the 2019 World Series.
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