Ted Leonsis 'very interested' in purchasing NL East team

ted leonsis 'very interested' in purchasing nl east team

CEO of Monumental Sports and owner of the NHL's Capitals and NBA's Wizards Ted Leonsis.

The long-term future of the Nationals has been in question for the past few years. The Lerner family announced in April 2022 they would look into selling the franchise. Within a few months, it became clear that Ted Leonsis — CEO of Monumental Sports and owner of the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards — was the front-runner.

Talks between the Lerners and Leonsis fizzled out, largely because of uncertainty regarding the Nats’ television rights deal. The Lerners were reportedly seeking around $2.5 billion back in 2022. The family announced this February they were no longer interested in selling the team. That seemingly put the matter to rest, but Leonsis told Scott Allen, Barry Svrluga and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post on Tuesday that he’s planning to put another proposal on the table at some point.

“I’ve told employees; I’ve told the Lerner family: ‘We are very interested. And we will figure out the right time and place to come with a thoughtful, dignified, real offer,” Leonsis said. “And they can say yes, they can say no. They can say, ‘We want to keep the team.’”

Leonsis can’t force the Lerners to sell, of course. However, the Post reports that the Lerner family may be willing to again entertain offers for the franchise after the 2024 season. While previous discussions haven’t been fruitful, it’s possible the ownership change on the other side of the Beltway Series will make a sale of the Nats more viable.

The primary complication to the Nationals changing hands has long been the team’s contentious TV contract with the Orioles. The franchises jointly own the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, with the O’s holding a larger share. If Leonsis had agreed to a deal with the Lerners, he’d likely have tried to work out an arrangement with the Orioles to buy out of the MASN deal. Longstanding acrimony between the franchises made that difficult to envision so long as the Angelos family was in control of the Orioles. New Baltimore owner David Rubenstein has publicly expressed a desire to reach an agreement with the Nats to resolve the MASN dispute.

Whether that happens remains to be seen. There’s no indication anything is imminent on that front, and it appears Leonsis is willing to be patient in putting together a new offer for the Nats.

“The Nationals and the Lerner family have said the team is not for sale, right? It’s not a formal process. And that is true,” he told the Post. “So there’s obviously no rush by them. They’re enjoying the season, right?” It’s nevertheless a situation worth keeping an eye on over the coming months.

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