Jeff Bezos weighs in on Mat Ishbia’s interest in owning NFL commanders

Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. Photo courtesy of UWM.

Mat Ishbia — the mortgage industry billionaire and former MSU basketball player — is considering a bid for the Washington Commanders in his quest to own an NFL franchise.

Why is it important: Owning a team in the country’s most popular sports league would raise Ishbia’s national profile and could increase his commercial influence.

  • Ishbia, president and CEO of Pontiac-based United Wholesale Mortgage, would join Dan Gilbert, Sheila Ford Hamp, the Ilitch family, Tom Gores, Stephen Ross and Steve Ballmer among professional sports owners with ties to Detroit.

Ishbia recently told the Washington Post, “I’m interested in exploring this opportunity further in the very near future.”

  • A UWM spokesperson tells Axios that there is nothing further to add at this time.

Yes, but: Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, with his enormous wealth and connections to DC, appears to be the favorite among potential Commanders bidders.

What they say : “If the rumors are true about Bezos, which makes sense, he’s sort of a no-brainer,” Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a sports management expert at George Washington University, told Axios.

Catch up fast: Commanders owner Daniel Snyder recently hired an investment bank to help with a potential sale.

  • Snyder’s management of the team has been dismal since he acquired it in 1999, but the past two years, including sexual harassment lawsuits and a lengthy name change process, have been particularly damaging.
  • A federal criminal investigation into the team’s financial irregularities was reported earlier this month.

The plot: Commanders could bring in as much as $7 billion – another milestone in the rapidly rising values ​​of professional sports teams.

The bottom line: Even if he outbids this time, Ishbia seems determined to own a professional team in the near future.

  • “I really believe he will own (NFL) one day,” Delpy Neirotti said. “There are going to be other teams for sale.”

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