Rob Walton is the next owner of the Denver Broncos. NFL owners formally approved the sale of the Broncos to the Walton-Penner ownership group on Tuesday, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer.
The team was sold for $4.65 billion, setting a new US record for sales by a sports franchise.
The group is led by Walmart heir Rob Walton and his family. They now have near complete control over professional sports in Colorado, as they own the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rapids through Stan and Ann Walton Kroenke. Stan Kroenke, owner of the Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal FC, is married to Ann, Rob’s cousin.
The team was officially put up for sale in February after lengthy legal battles with former owner Pat Bowlen’s family following his death in 2019. Pat Bowlen first bought the Broncos in 1984 for around $70 million .
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The Broncos were listed as the 10th most valuable NFL franchise in 2022, according to Sportico, and climbed 22% over the previous year. The Dallas Cowboys were the most valuable team on this list at $7.64 billion.
The previous American sports franchise record was set when the Brooklyn Nets were sold for approximately $2.3 billion. Chelsea FC were sold earlier this year in a record deal worth over $5 billion.
The Walton-Penner Group has added several notable numbers since announcing the deal. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined, as did Ariel Investments Co-CEO and Starbucks Board Chair Mellody Hobson. Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton was also the latest to join, making him the group’s third black owner.
Rob’s daughter and her husband, Carrie Walton Penner and Greg Penner, are the final two members of the six-person group. It’s unclear how much each member has purchased or what role they will have in running the franchise.