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Commanders Lose $15 Million After FedEx Pulls Out Of Naming Deal Early

Cleveland Browns v Washington Commanders

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The Washington Commanders will reportedly lose $15 million after FedEx pulled out of its stadium naming rights deal two years early, the Washington Post reports.

The $205 million naming rights deal was initially agreed upon in 1999 and set to run through the 2026 season, however, a clause in the contract allowed the conglomerate to opt out if the NFL franchise underwent an ownership change. Dan Snyder, who purchased the team from the late Jack Kent Cooke in 1999, sold the Commanders to Josh Harris and his ownership contingency last July.

The Commanders were reported to have been caught by "surprise" by FedEx's decision, according to the Washington Post. Washington's stadium will have a new name for the first time in 25 years, however, FedEx will continue a separate sponsorship with the Commanders that was already in place.

"We continuously review our marketing programs to ensure our investments are aligned with our evolving business objectives," FedEx said in a statement to the Associated Press. "As part of this review, we have decided to not continue as the naming rights sponsor of FedEx Field as we focus on our broader NFL sponsorship and opportunities that reflect our global footprint."

FedEx reportedly notified the Commanders of its decision to pull out of the naming rights deal at some point prior to the conclusion of the 2023 NFL season, ESPN reports. FedEx founder Fred Smith, the father of former Atlanta Falcons head coach and recently hired Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, purchased a minority ownership stake in the Commanders in 2003, which he held to 2021, at which point he was involved in a bitter dispute with Snyder, who took out a $55 million loan against the team without the approval of Smith and two other minority owners.

Snyder later bought out the three minority owners in March 2021 before selling the franchise entirely last July.