Denver Broncos bought by Walmart heir Rob Walton and family
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.
- This means the Walton family would have unprecedented control of one city's top-tier sports teams.
- Walton would become the richest NFL owner. His net worth is valued at more than $58 billion.
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.
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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