Aug 11, 2022 - News

New Broncos owners stay mum on potential new stadium

From left, Greg Penner, Condoleezza Rice, Rob Walton, Mellody Hobson and Carrie Walton-Penner during an introductory press conference on July 10. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

The Denver Broncos' new owners made their first public appearance together on Wednesday. But fans and residents remain in the dark about a possible new stadium for the team.

What they're saying: "Empower Field at Mile High is a terrific facility," co-owner Greg Penner told reporters. He said it's too early to say how the owners would pay for a new stadium, let alone whether they desire one.

  • "We've got a partnership with the stadium district and with 10 years left on our lease, we've got some time to go out and see what the different options are, consider everything, then make a decision," Penner said.

Driving the news: Five of the six members of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group were introduced at the UCHealth Training Center in Englewood

  • Absent was Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who last week was publicly announced as part of the ownership group.

Flashback: Empower Field opened in 2001, and 75% of its $400 million price tag was covered by a multi-county sales tax, while the NFL team paid the remaining 25%.

  • It's unclear whether local taxpayers now have an appetite to pay for a new stadium.
  • Last year, voters in Denver overwhelmingly rejected building a new — albeit significantly smaller — multipurpose arena by borrowing money.

Zoom out: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment last month submitted a master plan to the city to develop the area around Ball Arena, across the highway from Empower Field.

  • The plan includes roughly 12 million square feet of residential, retail, office and hotel space in the vicinity, according to the Denver Business Journal, featuring over 6,700 new residential units.
  • That project must still be reviewed and approved by the city.

The intrigue: In addition to geographic proximity, there are family ties as well, since Stan Kroenke — who owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Rapids and Mammoth — is married to Rob Walton's cousin, Ann Walton.

  • Kroenke told journalists this week it "wouldn't be unusual" if he worked with the new Broncos ownership on downtown development projects.
  • "What they do is what we do, we work hard, we look at the long term and we invest for the long term," Kroenke said. "I think that's good for the city, frankly."

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