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.