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Could Jeff Bezos Actually Buy the Redskins?

Jeff Bezos in Washington in September 2018. Photograph by Evy Mages

Jeff Bezos is interested in buying an NFL teamJason La Canfora reports for CBS Sports. And while there are no teams currently on the market—the Seahawks, in another city where the Amazon honcho has a house, will be sold at some point—it sure sounds like he has a certain team in mind:

Bezos’ move to Washington is creating a stir in that area, as is his ties to [Redskins owner Dan] Snyder. Snyder has been trying for years to get a state-of-the-art downtown stadium built in DC, growing increasingly frustrated by the location and age of FedEx Field. Bezos moved the Washington Post to a new location after purchasing the paper, is setting up an Amazon hub in the area and some believe could aid Snyder’s pursuit of a new stadium, perhaps even with an Amazon sponsorship.

Granted: That’s written in a way that implies Bezos could somehow help Snyder. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Bezos could help Snyder most by writing him a big check and making sure he gets a nice chair in a new stadium. Forbes estimates Snyder is worth $2.6 billion, which is enough to buy an obscenely expensive yacht but still about 1/42 of Bezos’s wealth. The Redskins are valued at about $3.4 billion.

Even by the standards of NFL owners—a lot of whom are “absolute pariahs in their markets,” Mark Leibovich told Washingtonian last year—Snyder is unpopular in this region. He’s never hired a full-time coach who’s had a winning record, the team is 140-188 under his tenure, he refuses to change the team’s racist name, he’s got a thing against trees, and “Sell the Team” is now the name of a beer. Perhaps at some point he’d be happy to roll around in a room full of $100 bills instead of facing headlines like this one, this one, or this one.

Meanwhile, Bezos has already turned around the Washington Post‘s fortunes and has helped kick off the revitalization of Crystal City. If you count his over-the-top mansion in Kalorama and lower prices at Whole Foods, the Redskins would actually be his fifth major reno job in Washington. And while it’s fun to imagine how many more disclosures the Post would have to run if he bought the Redskins, Bezos would be considerably more popular in this region if he only managed to turn the Redskins into something less than a slowly fizzing embarrassment.

“I’m almost certain most of the other owners and much of the league office would love the idea of him buying the Washington Redskins,” Leibovich, who wrote a terrific 2018 book about the league called Big Game, says when Washingtonian got him on the phone Monday. “But there’s one problem, and that’s to the best of my knowledge the Washington Redskins are not for sale.” Aside from whether the other owners pine for Snyder’s absence from their ranks (he quotes one owner in the book who says Snyder’s “face is buried in Jerry [Jones]’s colon”), they’d definitely welcome Bezos as a validation of their own master-of-the-universe status, Leibovich says. “It puts them in the company of the richest guy in the world, which is sweet for them.”

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.