Jun 7, 2022 - Sports

Denver Broncos bought by Walmart heir Rob Walton and family

Broncos stadium

Empower Field at Mile High Staidum. Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

The Denver Broncos officially named a new owner: Walmart heir Rob Walton and his family.

Driving the news: Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner and her husband, Greg Penner, have purchased the team for $4.65 billion — a U.S. sports franchise record, according to Denver's 9News.

  • The announcement from the team at 9:30pm Tuesday came about 30 hours after the deadline for a handful of investor groups to submit auction-style bids with the highest taking the win.
  • The other three groups, led by Josh Harris, the co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils; billionaire Jose Feliciano; and mortgage business and former college basketball player Mat Ishbia, were expected to make a play.

Why it matters: The Broncos are Denver. And this sports-loving town is the Broncos.

  • Moreover, as we reported, the future owners will decide whether to build a new stadium.

Context: Broncos CEO Joe Ellis called a new stadium "issue No. 1 on the next owner's plate" earlier this year, saying it must be considered "right away" and significant upgrades to Empower Field at Mile High are needed.

The intrigue: Stan Kroenke — who owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and Colorado Mammoth — is married to Ann Walton, a cousin of Rob Walton. The Kroenkes also own the Los Angeles Rams.

Between the lines: Before bids were even due, Forbes reported that Walton bought the team for $4.5 billion, but that Monday report went unconfirmed. The final bid appeared higher.

What they're saying: "Having lived and worked in Colorado, we've always admired the Broncos," Rob Walton said in a statement distributed by the Broncos organization. "When the necessary approval procedures are met, our family is excited to share more with Broncos fans, the organization and the community."

  • The decision about the new owner came from the three trustees of former owner Pat Bowlen's estate, which included Ellis.

What's next: The sale still needs approval from the NFL finance committee and league owners.

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Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Ann Walton is a cousin of Rob Walton, not sister. 


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