Next week marks the final step in the ongoing sale of the Denver Broncos. That's when the 32 current NFL owners will vote to approve Rob Walton's $4.65 billion purchase of the team.
In Denver on Friday, there was another, lesser-known vote on that same sale by the governing body that owns Empower Field at Mile High.
Its decision will have a major impact in seven Denver metro area counties. Since 2001, seven different counties or municipalities have made up the Metropolitan Football Stadium District.
On Friday, the stadium district's board met to decide on two resolutions related to the sale. The first was to approve it, which unanimously passed.
Now, the other vote surrounded a unique stipulation in the decades-old lease agreement with the Pat Bowlen Trust. Essentially, it states when the team is sold, a portion of that money must go back to the stadium district. And it must also only be used toward youth activity programs.
The board approved that $41 million sum, which is 2% of the sale's net profit; a number that does not include franchise debt and capital contributions over the years.
It'll be distributed to the member counties proportional to their contributions to the district.
"The language is it will be youth and it doesn't say youth sports, just youth in general, which leads me to believe many municipalities may be thinking of parks and recreation, obviously maybe youth educational programs, maybe their sports programs obviously that's up to the municipalities that paid it in," said Metropolitan Football Stadium District board chair Ray Baker.
Broncos president Joe Ellis said the trust will distribute the money shortly after the sale.
He also shared what the late Pat Bowlen would probably think of this moment, "I'm not sure he envisioned ever having to deal with this. I don't think he ever envisioned that if he did have to deal with it that his team would sell for $4.65 billion. So, I think it's a nice windfall and they deserve it and I think he would be proud that the proceeds will go to the right cause, which is youth activities."
Upon owners' approval, the Walton Penner Group will take over the current lease, minus the same stipulation. The lease goes through 2031.
for more features.