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Walton Family Buy Denver Broncos For 'A Great Deal'

DENVER (CBS4) - From one family affair to another, the next chapter in Denver Broncos history appears clearer than ever before. Late Tuesday the team announced it had entered into a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner ownership group led by Rob Walton, his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner.

"There were at least three excellent bids, any of which could have been accepted and any of which would have been dramatically larger in dollar amount than what Dave Tepper paid for the [Carolina] Panthers four years ago," said Marc Ganis, founder and president of sports business consulting firm Sports Corp, which has worked on projects with multiple NFL teams. "It is the highest price ever paid for a sports team in the history of the world, and there are people who would argue it was actually a great deal for the buyers as well."

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Long the favorite to get the team, Rob Walton is the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and served as chair of the company's board for about 13 years.

Now retired from that role, his net worth is estimated near $60 billion, making him the league's richest owner once approved. He would also have a higher net worth than the league's five current richest owners combined.

"I've met Rob Walton. [He's] modest, committed, I think the Broncos fans are going to love him and going to love the family," Ganis said.

Family is a major theme of Walton's ownership group. The 77 year old is joined by his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner, who is the current chair of Walmart's board.

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(credit: CBS)

According to the Broncos, Mellody Hobson is also part of the group. The Chicago native is an accomplished businesswoman who has served in board or executive roles with Starbucks, JP Morgan Chase and Ariel Investments. She is also married to film director and producer George Lucas.

"She is an amazing person, and I believe is going to bring a lot of talent and a lot of energy to the broncos' new ownership as well," Ganis said.

Under Pat Bowlen, winning was said to be the top priority. Now, Broncos fans can only hope the next chapter includes much more of the same.

"You have the right buyer at the right price that is looking at this as a long-term family investment that they're going to own for multiple generations, so they're in it for the long term," he said.

The league's salary cap may keep the Waltons' deep pockets from being a major advantage on the field, but not everywhere. Ganis said he'll be interested to see what the group does about the stadium, since it can make investments most other owners likely wouldn't.


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