Broncos Officially Sold to Walton-Penner Family for Reported Record $4.65B After Vote

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 9, 2022

Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Denver Broncos are no longer in the Bowlen family.

The NFL officially approved the sale of the franchise to the group spearheaded by Walmart's Rob Walton, his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner.

Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton and former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are also investors in the ownership group.

The Walton-Penner group agreed to a $4.65 billion price tag in June. It is the largest-ever sale price for a North American sports franchise, nearly doubling the previous record (New York Mets, $2.4 billion).

The Broncos had been in the Bowlen family since 1984, when the late Pat Bowlen purchased the franchise from Edgar Kaiser for $70 million. Pat Bowlen remained in control until 2014, when he stepped down amid health problems.

Upon his death in June 2019, the franchise went into a state of flux as the remaining members of the Bowlen family disagreed on a path forward. The Broncos were eventually put up for sale earlier this year, with several bidders making offers despite the record-setting asking price.

Broncos CEO Joe Ellis, who helped shepherd the franchise after Bowlen's death and was instrumental in the sale process, announced his resignation amid the vote's approval, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Only three NFL franchises have changed hands since 2012, as a combination of record-setting revenues and team scarcity sends values skyrocketing. The average NFL franchise is worth $4.1 billion, according to Sportico, with the Dallas Cowboys coming in at a high of $7.64 billion.

No recent franchise sales across major professional sports in the United States have come in below a team's valuation.


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