Billionaire Jeffrey Skoll is buying into Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the parent of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals.
An architect of eBay’s early business and its eventual IPO, Skoll is joining the entity controlled by chairman Ted Leonsis. MSE’s investors include billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, and Nationals owner Mark Lerner.
Skoll is acquiring about 10% of MSE, and is buying from existing LPs, not Leonsis, according to people familiar with the terms. A representative from MSE declined to comment on the financial specifics; a LinkedIn message sent to Skoll wasn’t immediately returned.
MSE is structured in the mold of modern sports ownership—with a handful of prominent franchises at the center of a wider business that includes real estate, media and technology. In addition to the NBA and NHL franchises, the portfolio includes the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, NBC Sports Washington, two esports teams, and MSE’s own digital media network. The group owns and operates the 20,000-seat Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., and is co-owner of aXiomatic, which controls pro esports organization Team Liquid.
Skoll, who was eBay’s first full-time employee, is now worth $5.6 billion, according to Bloomberg. His production company, Participant Media, has produced films that have earned 85 Academy Award nominations, including Oscar winners Green Book, Spotlight and An Inconvenient Truth. He is co-founder of The Rise Fund, an impact investing firm, and founder of the Jeff Skoll Group, which combines his philanthropic and commercial endeavors. He signed the Giving Pledge in 2010.
Skoll’s investment comes as a rash of major sports teams are looking for investors or new owners. Multibillion-dollar franchises on the market include Liverpool, Manchester United, the Washington Commanders, the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Nationals.
Leonsis is among those exploring a bid for the Nationals.
MSE was advised by McDermott Will & Emery in the deal. Skoll was advised by Sidley.
(This story has been updated in the third paragraph with details of the acquisition and in the fifth paragraph with information on Skoll’s film production company.)