ATLANTA, Colo. (CBS4) - The Denver Broncos are back on the practice field with their new head coach and new quarterback, but the highest-profile position in the franchise remains a question mark.
This week, as NFL owners and top executives met in Atlanta for the annual spring league meeting, the franchise, aided by Allen & Co. and Prosakuer Rose LLP, remained deep in the process of finding a new owner. It's a sale that some estimate could net more than $4 billion.
At this year's meeting, NFL owners approved several rule changes, new initiatives, and even discussed changes to the Pro Bowl. One thing also on the agenda was an update on the Broncos sale.
Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis was at the meeting representing the team this week. The update, we're told, was quick, outlining where the Pat Bowlen Trust and franchise stands, as well as where they are in the process of finding people to buy the team.
CBS4 did try speaking directly to Elis, as well as several other NFL owners, but all declined to speak with us about the sale.
Still, we do know the Broncos are narrowing down the bids at this point. Of those candidates, Walmart heir Rob Walton is heavily involved, as well as private equity investor and Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris, and LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, according to Sportico.
In his press conference following Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the Broncos have also seen interest from several minority candidates.
"We passed a resolution with the point and principal that we wanted anyone bidding on a franchise to consider minority ownership," Goodell said. "The good news is, in the Broncos case, we had several, and that was a very positive development. We'll see how it ends up, but I think we've made it very clear that's something we intend to do and want to have happen."
Joe Ellis has said the number one decision facing a new owner would be surrounding the future of the stadium. When asked by CBS4 if any bids for the team plan to address that, Goodell declined to answer with specifics.
"We're not going to get into any specifics of where the bids are or any of the specific elements of those bids, but I would say, and I made this point today that the cooperation, the communication has been very good between the Broncos and our staff, as well as the representatives of the Broncos," Goodell said. "It's moving forward, and when they get to a completion, we'll know that, and then we'll start our process."
All along, the Broncos have said they will have a new owner by the start of the NFL season. A source who has been part of this process before said dealing with the trust and an auction process makes this sale more complicated than past team sales, but that timeline is still likely.
Once a candidate is picked, it'll go before the NFL's finance committee. After that, the final decision will be in the hands of the 31 other current NFL owners, three-fourths of whom must approve the team's purchase.
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