It must be Magic

Josh Harris is Commanders’ new owner, Earvin Johnson is team’s minority owner

Fred Jeter | 7/27/2023, 6 p.m.
Washington Commanders fans are already having a good time – 1,000 free beers can put folks in a party mood. ...
In addition to owning a chain of movie theaters, restaurants, several Starbucks locations and a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is officially a part-owner of the NFL’s Washington Commanders. Photo by Associated Press

Washington Commanders fans are already having a good time – 1,000 free beers can put folks in a party mood.

Soon after it became official that Josh Harris was the franchise’s new owner, the private equity billionaire called radio station WJFK and ordered 1,000 brews for customers at Old Ox Brewery.

“Hail to the Commanders, and drink up,” Harris told his radio audience.

In a move that has seemed imminent since April, Harris purchased the NFC East affiliate from beleaguered Dan Snyder for a reported $6.05 billion.

The NFL owners unanimously approved the sale.

Snyder, who has become increasingly unpopular in recent years for workplace and financial misconduct, bought the team in 1999 for $750 million.

While Harris may be unfamiliar to sports fans, one of his minority owners is a household name – Magic, as in basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

“I don’t invest for ego,” Johnson said at the press conference. “I invest to win.”

Johnson also is part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Football Club and the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks.

“This is a proud day for Black Americans, who are typically left out of NFL management,” Johnson added.

From Chevy Chase, Md., Harris also is an ownership partner of the New Jersey Devils soccer team and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

He noted that he was “humbled and awed” to be the club’s new owner.

Harris may be popular among Commanders fans beyond the free beer. In his first season as part owner of the 76ers, he cut prices sharply and attendance improved by 15 percent.

The Commanders are hoping a change in management will change their luck on the gridiron. It’s always more fun to party after a victory.

Washington went 164-220-2 under Snyder and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005. This past season, Washington was 30th and last in percentage of tickets sold relative to overall seating capacity.