Harris, a founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, leads the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment holding company, an investment group that has revitalized the 76ers and the Devils. He is also an owner of the Premier League’s Crystal Palace football club and holds a minority share in the Pittsburgh Steelers, which he must sell so he can take over ownership of the Commanders.
Harris, who grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., and attended the Field School in northwest Washington, cobbled together a big investment group. A week before the preliminary bids were due in February, he toured the team’s training facility and stadium, as every qualified bidder is allowed to do, according to a person familiar with the Commanders’ sale process.
The bid process was complicated because interest rates had shot up in the past year, raising the cost of borrowing money. Formerly a high-profile team owner, Snyder has remained largely out of public view and away from the team.
According to N.F.L. rules, every club must have a principal owner who owns at least 30 percent of the team, which means Harris will need to raise at least $1.8 billion on his own. He has an estimated net worth of $6 billion, according to Forbes.
In March, Harris recruited Rales, a co-founder of the Maryland-based Danaher Corporation, to join his investment group, a person with knowledge of the deliberations said. Rales has an estimated net worth of $5.6 billion, according to Forbes, and adds strong local ties to the ownership group.
Harris also recruited Magic Johnson, which will help satisfy other N.F.L. owners, who last March said in a statement that they would “regard it as a positive and meaningful factor” if prospective ownership groups “include diverse individuals who would have a significant equity stake in and involvement with the club.”
Harris beat out Tilman J. Fertitta, the owner of the Houston Rockets of the N.B.A., who reportedly bid $5.6 billion for the Commanders. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was thought to be interested in buying the club, but does not appear to have made a bid for the team.
Jenny Vrentas contributed reporting.