Commanders sale approved: Fans eager for Josh Harris to usher in new era for struggling franchise

Josh Harris is officially the new owner of the Washington Commanders. It's the biggest sale in the history of the NFL. 

The owners unanimously approved the sale Thursday afternoon. 

"Congratulations to Josh Harris and his impressive group of partners. Josh will be a great addition to the NFL. He has a remarkable record in business, sports, and in his communities. The diverse group that Josh has put together is outstanding for its business acumen and strong Washington ties and we welcome them to the NFL as well," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. 

The $6.05 billion deal has been in the making for months. Snyder agreed to the historic sale back in April and signed an exclusive deal on May 12. 

Harris, a Maryland native, said he's hitting the ground running to deliver a "championship caliber team" and a franchise that "you can be proud of." 

"To Commanders fans everywhere, our promise is simple: We will do the work, create a culture and make the investment needed to deliver for this team and Washington," Harris said in a statement. 

And that's just what fans wanted to hear.

After nearly two decades since their last playoff run — and only two playoff wins in 24 seasons — the team is looking ahead to what they hope will be a new era for the franchise. Many fans have eagerly awaited the sale, hoping new leadership will bring them their first Super Bowl win since 1991. 

"It's been a long road," Commanders fan Charlotte told FOX 5. "I was born in December of 1992, so I have never seen this team win. I have never seen them do anything but let me down year after year. I have no doubt that the guys are trying, the coaches are trying but when we have leadership and ownership like Dan Snyder we're never going to be successful, so this is truly one of the greatest days as a sports fan that I'll ever see in D.C."

The owners gathered at a Minneapolis-area hotel Thursday for the meeting, which began at 2 p.m. Three-quarters (24 of 32) of the owners have to approve the sale to make it official. 

It’s the first ownership change since Dan Snyder first bought the team for $800 million in 1999 — the youngest person to ever buy an NFL team — bringing an end to a tumultuous and controversial tenure.

"I’m fired up. It’s been a long time coming, and I just look forward to putting this in the past and getting the Ws going forward," fan Michael Maher said. 

He's not the only one looking ahead to a better season. At the Bullpen in Navy Yard, excitement was building throughout the afternoon. 

They hosted an event called "Burgundy and Sold," a play on the team's colors. It’s sponsored by four of the local radio stations and they’re selling shirts to commemorate this day. 

"I saw the good days, and I saw a lot of the bad days, so it’s great that it’s finally here," said Dave Zicer, who attended the event. 

"I’m just glad it’s about to happen. So I was like, oh, this has been a long way. It’s time for a change," Commanders fan Gerard Rich told FOX 5. 

And at Old Ox Brewing in Ashburn, where they famously started brewing a "Bye Dan" beer, fans showed up as 106.7 The Fan broadcast from the brewery.

Fans there said they’re excited to cheer the on-field product without worrying about off-field issues.

"Building on what we’ve got and being able to concentrate on what we’re doing on the field and not have to worry about the off the field will be a great relief," Frances Walinsky said. 

The party only picked up at the Bullpen following the announcement. According to one attendee, Harris even phoned in to buy fans a beer or seltzer.

"If there’s one thing you can report…it’s that the faces of everyone here are filled with hope," one fan told FOX 5's David Kaplan.

While fans enjoy what they say is a big win, finding a new stadium will be the next task for the future of the storied franchise, which has made the playoffs just six times in 24 seasons and won just two postseason games with Snyder in charge. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027.