The Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group, which is in the final stages of purchasing the NFL's Denver Broncos, announced Tuesday seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is joining the organization's incoming ownership team.
Denver Broncos @Broncos
“We're delighted to welcome Seven-Time Formula One World Champion Sir <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisHamilton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LewisHamilton</a> to our ownership group. He is a champion competitor who knows what it takes to lead a winning team.”<br><br>Statement from Rob Walton on behalf of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group: <a href="https://t.co/kl2z04lKyk">pic.twitter.com/kl2z04lKyk</a>
Hamilton, a 37-year-old Englishman, ranked No. 17 on Forbes' list of the highest-earning athletes for 2022 at $65 million.
Last week, the NFL's finance committee unanimously recommended the Broncos' sale be given the green light by the league's other 31 owners when they meet Aug. 9 in Minneapolis, per ESPN's Jeff Legwold. The deal will be finalized if 24 teams vote in favor.
The Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group agreed to pay the Pat Bowlen Trust $4.65 billion for the Broncos, the highest price paid for a sports franchise, according to Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post.
Bowlen served as the team's majority owner from 1984 until his death in 2019 at the age of 75. His family led the organization for the past three years via the trust.
Hamilton is one of the most decorated drivers in history with 103 F1 victories and 188 podium finishes during his 16-year career in open-wheel racing's top division.
Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson posted a welcome message on Twitter:
Russell Wilson @DangeRussWilson
Congrats <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisHamilton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LewisHamilton</a> <br>Winning is a Habit! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LetsRide?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LetsRide</a> <a href="https://t.co/Rz3P4AS4it">https://t.co/Rz3P4AS4it</a>
The Mercedes driver has prior ties to the NFL, having spoken with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2017.
Hamilton planned to kneel prior to races in support of Kaepernick's kneeling during the national anthem to protest against police brutality and racial injustice.
Hamilton was eventually discouraged by F1 to make such a gesture ahead of the 2017 U.S. Grand Prix, but he did kneel ahead of races in 2020 in support of the Black Lives Matter protests.
The Broncos' sale is on pace to get finalized before the team kicks off the 2022 campaign.
Denver opens the regular season Sept. 12 when it visits Lumen Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson's former team.