By Max Harper
Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, led by Josh Harris, who has reached an agreement to buy the Commanders — and Arctos Partners, a sports private equity firm, have become minority investors in Joe Gibbs Racing.
Gibbs will become a limited partner in HBSE, but he is not part of the Harris group with the Commanders. According to a news release, the investment was termed “significant.”
Harris entered into a signed exclusive deal on May 12 to purchase the Commanders from co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder. The league recently sent a memo to teams with two possible dates — July 20 and Aug. 8 — for a vote on whether or not to approve his offer. The NFL’s finance committee has been working with Harris to get his bid in compliance with NFL guidelines.
Gibbs and Harris have become friends in recent years, Harris said in a statement. Gibbs has served as an adviser during Harris’ pursuit of the Commanders. Gibbs led the franchise to three Super Bowl victories during his first stint, from 1981 to ’92. He returned in 2004, leading the team to two playoff appearances in his four seasons. Washington’s last playoff win occurred under Gibbs in the 2005 season.
Gibbs has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for both the NFL and NASCAR.
“Joe is a winner,” Harris said in the release. “First in football and then with Joe Gibbs Racing, he has led organizations that build winning cultures based on strong values and a deep commitment to family and faith. This investment and partnership aims to support his vision and allow Joe Gibbs Racing to continue its track record of excellence long into the future.”
HBSE also owns the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils. Arctos has invested in 20 sports franchises in the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS, according to the release.
Gibbs and JGR president Dave Alpern will continue to make day-to-day decisions. HBSE and Arctos will provide strategic support; HBSE will help in areas such as sales, marketing and business operations.
“Josh Harris, David Blitzer and their entire team have a vision that has delivered winning franchises in basketball, hockey, soccer and youth sports,” Gibbs said in the release. “Their teams are among the most successful in their leagues in growing audience and sponsorship.”