Washington Nationals: An Update on the Potential Sale of the Franchise

By Kevin Mitchell
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: (L-R) Manger Dave Martinez #4, General Manager Mike Rizzo, and Principle Owner Mark Lerner of the Washington Nationals cheer during Ryan Zimmerman retirement ceremony before a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on June 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: (L-R) Manger Dave Martinez #4, General Manager Mike Rizzo, and Principle Owner Mark Lerner of the Washington Nationals cheer during Ryan Zimmerman retirement ceremony before a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on June 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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The Lerner family bought the Washington Nationals back in 2006. After owning the team for nearly two decades, the family is looking to possibly sell the team. The Nationals potentially being for sale was reported back in April, but so far, nothing has really come of it other than the Lerner family listening to a couple bids.

Per Forbes, the Washington Nationals are worth an estimated $2 billion. There are currently five or six bidders, but some would have to find minority owners. Some of the notable potential bidders are Ted Leonsis, Michael B. Kim, and Stanley Middleman.

Ted Leonsis is the owner of Monumental Sports, which owns the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, and the Washington Capitals. With already owning three Washington sport teams, it would not be a surprise to see him make an offer to the Lerner family. Leonsis also has some family ties to the Lerner family, as Mark Lerner, the principal owner of the Washington Nationals also happens to be a minority owner in Monumental Sports, so Leonsis is the early favorite to buy the team if they are in fact sold.

Leonsis is also the owner of NBC Sports Washington, which could present a new broadcast option for Nationals’ games. However, as it has been for years now, the current MASN deal not only presents an obstacle on the broadcast front, but for a potential sale as well.

Michael B. Kim is a billionaire businessman and the co-founder of MBK partners, which is a private equity firm in South Korea. In 2022, Kim was ranked #3 on Forbes’ Korea’s 50 Richest, with a net worth of $7.7 billion.

Stanley Middleman is the founder and CEO of Freedom Mortgage Corporation. Middleman is best known for being a businessman, an investor, and his experience in the mortgage banking industry.

The key here is that while the Lerner family has expressed an interest to sell the team, they have not said they will 100% do it. As of right now, they are just listening to bids that potential buyers are putting in. They are expected to make a decision on what to do with the Washington Nationals by the end of 2022, but the potential sale of a $2 billion dollar franchise takes time. Regardless, the sooner the Nationals get clarity on their ownership situation, the better the on-field product will be.

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