Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and Washington Capitals is looking to add a fourth major professional sports team to his company’s portfolio: The Washington Nationals.
Leonsis’ company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, was reportedly granted access to the Nationals’ financial data, according to the Washington Post – a big step in a potential bid for the MLB franchise. The Lerner family announced it would be exploring ownership restructure in April, which could include an outright sale.
Zach Leonsis, the son of Ted and Monumental’s president of media and new enterprises, said Tuesday that it was “not appropriate to comment” when asked about the family’s interest in the Nationals.
There are at least five suitors for the Nationals, per the Post, which include billionaire Michael B. Kim, the co-founder and partner of MBK Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, and Stanley Middleman, the CEO of Freedom Mortgage in New Jersey.
Leonsis, 65, bought his first major professional sports team in 1999 when he paid $85 million for the Capitals. He became the majority owner of the Wizards and Mystics in 2010 and combined all three teams under one ownership group at Monumental. Leonsis’s company also owns the Verizon Center where the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics play, NBA G League’s Go-Go and the NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming. Monumental also just announced it is buying NBC Sports Washington, the network which owns the broadcast rights for the Wizards and Capitals.
The Nationals are valued at $2 billion, per Forbes, but it’s unclear if Leonis and Monumental would buy the team outright, bring in other investors or work with the Lerners on a new ownership structure. Coincdentially, Mark Lerner, who is the Nationals’ managing principal owner and son Ted Lerner, is also a minority partner in Monumental. The Los Angeles Angels are also reportedly up for sale, owner Arte Moreno announced Tuesday. They’re valued at $2.2 billion.
Washington is reaching a bit of an inflection point in its franchise after the organization won the World Series in 2019. The Nationals traded away yet another superstar when it sent outfielder Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres earlier this year and looks directionless as Washington flops to perhaps another last-place finish in the NL East for the third time in three years.
Whoever buys the Nationals will have their work cut out for them.