Aug 3, 2022 - Sports

Denver Broncos diversify ownership team ahead of vote

Data: Sportico; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: Sportico; Table: Axios Visuals

The new buyers of the Denver Broncos are aware of the obvious: Most NFL teams are owned by wealthy white men.

State of play: That's a concern for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who said earlier this year that he wanted diversity among the Broncos' new ownership group.

  • A week before the formal vote on the $4.65 billion purchase, the new ownership group led by Rob Walton and the Penner family — both tied to the Walmart fortune — is working to meet the request.

The latest: On Tuesday, the buyers added Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton to their team.

  • The 37-year-old from England is a seven-time champion who races for Mercedes. He's the best F1 driver to have ever graced a circuit, in terms of career wins and total points.

Meet the team: The other limited partners outside the Walton-Penner family all add racial diversity.

  • Mellody Hobson is the co-CEO of Ariel Investments and board chair at Starbucks. She is also married to George Lucas, and previously served as chairperson of DreamWorks Animation.
  • Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state who previously lived in the Mile High City and attended the University of Denver, now leads the Hoover Institution and is an investor in the WNBA.

The big picture: No Black men or women are primary NFL team owners, but Hobson and Rice are the first two Black women who are part-owners, the New York Times reports.

  • Only two people of color are majority NFL team owners: Pakistani American Shahid Khan with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Korean American Kim Pegula with the Buffalo Bills.

Of note: It's unclear what level of ownership stake Hamilton or the other limited partners would hold in the team.

  • The pending sale puts the Broncos' value at 10th highest in the NFL, according to Sportico. The Dallas Cowboys are No. 1, at $7.6 billion.

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