News & Politics

The Nationals May Be for Sale. Who Could Buy Them?

Yes, Jeff Bezos is on our list

Nationals baseball game. Photograph by Rudi Riet/Flickr.

The Washington Post reported today that the Lerner family, which owns the Washington Nationals, may be interested in selling the team and has hired a New York investment firm to look for potential investors or buyers.

Which Washington figures have deep enough pockets—and, possibly, the interest—to step up to the plate with the $2 billion it might take to own the Nats? Here, a look at some possible contenders:

Jeff Bezos

It’s been reported that the Amazon billionaire would love to get his hands on the city’s NFL team should current owner Dan Snyder decide to—or be forced to—sell it. Might the man who bought the Washington Post be interested in purchasing another local institution?

David Rubenstein

The Carlyle Group billionaire has saved or funded many a local treasure, including the Washington Monument and the pandas. And he reportedly has memorized lots of baseball statistics that he could share in the owner’s box.

Ted Leonsis

He already owns a majority share of the Capitals, the Wizards, and the Mystics.

Ryan Zimmerman

Zim earned an estimated $140 million over his long career with the Nats, so he’s not rich enough for a solo bid. But it isn’t hard to imagine #11 being part of a group that makes a play. Sort of like…

Alex Rodriguez

The former New York Yankee isn’t local, but he is part of an ownership group that just purchased the lease on the DC Trump hotel, which will become a Waldorf Astoria. His interest in baseball is clear, and should he start spending time here as part-owner of the Nats, he would have a nice place lined up to stay.

Jeff Zients

Zients was part of a group of investors—which also included Fred Malek and Colin Powell—who tried to buy the Nationals the first time around but lost out to the Lerners. Zients has already announced he’s leaving the Biden administration, where he’s served as an adviser, so he’ll have time on his hands. Bonus: As a partner in local bagel purveyor Call Your Mother, he would be able to hook up Nats Park attendees with delicious bagel sandwiches.

Kanye West

Kanye isn’t a local either, though his ill-fated run for the presidency in 2020 was an attempt to become one. He’s reportedly interested in buying the Denver Broncos for $4 billion.

Robert Allbritton

Allbritton is a big fan—he has a front-row seat right behind home plate at Nats Park. And the chief executive of Allbritton Communications recently sold Politico for a reported $1 billion. Might he like the view from the owner’s suite?

Javanka

Granted, Jared and Ivanka weren’t exactly regulars at Nats games during their four years in DC. But might this be a way to ingratiate themselves back into Washington—and maybe exact a bit of revenge for her dad getting booed at Nats Park during the 2019 World Series?

Dan Snyder

Worst case scenario: Snyder believes he’s as much of a baseball savant as he seems to think he is with football, and as a result buys himself another DC team.

Best case scenario: He takes inspiration from the Lerners and decides it’s time to cash out of the Commanders and put his billions somewhere else.

 

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.