Denver Broncos Will Become the Most Expensive Sports Franchise in History

Denver Broncos
Fans tailgate outside of Empower Field at Mile High before an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Everything seems to be ready for the Denver Broncos: the team will have a new owner before the end of June, as Pat Bowlen has owned the franchise since 1984.

According to a report by Mike Ozanian, from Forbes magazine, Rob Walton, heir to the Walmart fortune, would have won the bet to buy the NFL team for 4.5 trillion dollars.

If this figure materializes, it would be the highest amount paid by any professional team in history, surpassing the $3.2 trillions Chelsea FC cost, the English Premier League soccer team, which was acquired by Todd Boehly.

Ozanian points out that Walton’s fortune amounts to $59.1 trillion dollars, a figure that places him in the 22nd position of the richest people in the world and that allows him to bet heavily on this purchase to fight with four other names that were seeking to get hold of the franchise.

If Walton ends up staying with the Denver Broncos, his daughter Carrie and son-in-law, Greg Penner, will also be part of the new ownership group.

It is worth remembering that after Bowlen’s death in 2019, a legal dispute between his sons led to the sale of the organization that had been part of the family for 38 years and was bought by his father for $78 million dollars.

As for the record sale of an NFL franchise, this belongs to the Carolina Panthers, an organization that was acquired in 2018 by David Tepper for $2,275 million.

Does the Purchase of the Denver Broncos Bring Any Surprises?

While Ozanian’s report appears to be pretty close to what is expected, according to ESPN’s renowned Adam Schefter, the sale is not closed yet in Walton’s favor.

Schefter emphasizes that this Monday afternoon a second round of betting on the franchise was going to take place, and a source told him that there was no favorite yet.

Along with Walton, the others interested in acquiring the Denver Broncos are: the billionaire co-founder of Apollo Global Management, Josh Harris; one of the founders of Clearlake Capital, José E. Feliciano; and billionaire mortgage tycoon, Mat Ishbia.

The Broncos were one of the biggest movers in the preseason market, their top acquisition being quarterback Russell Wilson.


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