Mat Ishbia is back in the NFL.
The former Michigan State basketball player turned billionaire businessman is considering a bid to buy the Washington Commanders.
“The NFL is a big league and Washington is one of the elite franchises,” Ishbia said in a statement Friday. “I am interested in further exploring this opportunity in the very near future.”
The chairman and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage and MSU donor tried to buy the Denver Broncos earlier this year. The franchise was sold this summer for $4.65 billion to a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton.
Forbes lists 42-year-old Ishbia’s net worth at around $4.6 billion. United Wholesale Mortgage was the nation’s top mortgage lender by volume in the third quarter of this year.
Ishbia’s company, headquartered in Pontiac, has sponsorship deals with MSU, and he’s donated millions to the university, including helping pay for the 10-year, $95 million contract from football coach Mel Tucker signed a year ago. United Wholesale Mortgage, founded by Ishbia’s father in 1986, last year promised monthly payments of $500 to 133 men’s scholarships and basketball and soccer players for the duration of their careers as MSU athletes.
Ishbia may have to compete for commanders with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, according to The Washington Post, whose bid could include music icon Jay Z.
After:Judge hears arguments in case Free Press v. MSU for withholding information about Tucker deal
Byron Allen, 61, a Detroit native and media mogul, is also “preparing a bid” for COs, and would be the NFL’s first black owner. He also missed the sale of the Broncos.
Commanders is owned by Dan Snyder and his wife, Tanya, and Forbes estimates the value of the franchise at $5.6 billion. Commanders said Wednesday that Daniel Snyder had hired an investment bank to “consider potential transactions” for his franchise, although the team did not say whether the Snyders were considering selling the entire franchise or a minority share.
Snyder, who said two weeks ago he would never sell, has been embroiled in controversy and is currently under investigation by Congress for the work culture created during his ownership, and by the NFL for the second time for an allegation of sexual misconduct. Washington had already been fined $10 million following an earlier investigation.
Commanders are also inspected by the attorneys general of Virginia and Washington, D.C. for financial irregularities.
Snyder bought the team in 1999 for $800 million.
The franchise has won three Super Bowls under head coach Joe Gibbs (1982, 1987, 1991), but hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005, when Mark Brunell was quarterback.
The Washington Post was the first to report Ishbia’s interest in commanders.
Free Press business reporter JC Reindl contributed to this report.