The Denver Broncos have a new owner. Well, almost. The final sale is pending a vote from the other NFL franchise owners and approval from the league’s finance committee, but it looks like the Walton-Penner group will become the next owner after they agreed to a purchase agreement for the Broncos worth $4.65 billion.
The Broncos finished in last place with a 7-10 record in the highly-competitive AFC West last season, but they have high expectations for the upcoming season and immediate future.
After acquiring All-Pro quarterback Russell Wilson in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, the Broncos became a popular pick to win Super Bowl 57. You can currently back the Broncos at +1600 odds according to the most recent update by DraftKings.
The Broncos won the Super Bowl three times, including in back-to-back seasons under Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway in 1997 and 1998. They last won a championship in 2015 when Peyton Manning led them to a victory in Super Bowl 50.
Meet the new owners
The Walton-Penner group is led by Rob Walton, who’s the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Rob Walton’s daughter, Carrie Welton Penner, and her husband Greg Penner are also involved in the group. Greg Penner is the chairman of Walmart, a position that Rob Walton previously held. Mellody Hobson, the co-CEO of Ariel Investments and chairwoman of Starbucks, joined the group as a minority owner.
“Today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history,” said Broncos team president Joe Ellis. “Learning more about the Walton-Penner family’s background and vision for the Denver Broncos, I am confident that their leadership and support will help this team achieve great things on and off the field.”
The Broncos had a valuation of anywhere between $4.5 billion and $5 billion when the Walton-Penner Group agreed to pay $4.65 billion. The pending purchase will set a record for the highest sale for a North American major sports franchise. The previous record for an NFL franchise was $2.275 billion for the Carolina Panthers
“We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos!,” said Walton in an official statement. “Carrie, Greg, and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans. Having lived and worked in Colorado, we’ve always admired the Broncos. Our enthusiasm has only grown as we’ve learned more about the team, staff, and Broncos Country over the last few months.”
Bowden family drama
After former owner Pat Bowden passed away in 2019, his children fought over control of the Broncos in an epic drama that felt like something out of HBO’s “Succession.” Members of the Bowden family fought a bitter battle for ultimate control of the team and, when they couldn’t determine a successor, the NFL pushed for a solution where the family trust sold the team to a new owner.
Several competing parties were interested in purchasing the Broncos, including groups led by Walton, Josh Harris, Mat Ishbia, and Jose Feliciano/Behdad Eghbali.
Harris is a co-founder of the well-known Apollo Global Management. He previously purchased the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. Several insiders thought Harris was the front runner to buy the Broncos, but the Walton-Penner Group won out.
Other groups initially interested in the purchase of the Broncos included Elway, while another group that included NBA legend Magic Johnson also wanted to buy the team.