Nationals owners explore selling the franchise

Washington Nationals. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Washington Nationals. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Lerner Family could potentially put the Washington Nationals franchise up for sale.

The Washington Nationals could be up for sale with The Lerner Family exploring all options.

Washington is only a few years removed from winning its first World Series championship in franchise history. However, The Lerners are at least testing the waters of potentially shaking up the franchise’s ownership structure, which could include an outright sale of the team.

“This is an exploratory process, so there is no set timetable or expectation of a specific outcome,” said managing principal owner Mark Lerner in a statement to The Washington Post. “The organization is as committed as ever to their employees, players, fans, sponsors and partners and to putting a competitive product on the field.”

There are a few reasons why the franchise could be up for sale, but it will be an ongoing process.

MLB rumors: The Lerner Family could be selling the Washington Nationals

The Lerners bought the franchise from Major League Baseball in 2005 and relocated it from Montreal to the nation’s capital. It took a while, but a lengthy rebuilding process culminated in Washington getting to and winning its first World Series in 2019. However, the global pandemic negatively affected the real estate market, which is where patriarch Ted Lerner made his money.

The other big factor is Washington is essentially a second tenant with their local RSN, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, to the more entrenched Baltimore Orioles. These two things have had a massive impact on Washington’s revenue. Not only have the finances taken a hit, but the product on the field has suffered as well. This is why Mark Lerner could be going back on his word from 2018.

“We will never sell the Nationals,” said Lerner to The Washington Post four years ago. “That’s what we’ve worked to get all those years. We think we do a pretty good job of it. There’s no intention of this family — certainly while I’m alive and my sisters and brothers-in-law are alive — nobody’s going to sell this team.”

If Washington were to go to market, the Nationals would be the most recent MLB team to be sold following the New York Mets to Steve Cohen in 2020. Should this be the course of action The Lerners want to take, the Nationals could be the next North American professional sports franchise to be sold, assuming they go to market after the Denver Broncos are eventually sold.

This may only be an exploratory process, but the Nationals could become available at some point.

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