NFL owners gave their final stamp of approval to a new chapter in Denver Broncos' history Tuesday, unanimously approving the Walton-Penner group's $4.65 billion purchase of the team.
The vote came at a league meeting at the JW Marriott outside Minneapolis, Minnesota. During that meeting, Rob Walton addressed his future colleagues, and afterward, commissioner Roger Goodell formerly introduced Walton at a press conference, as well as his daughter, Carrie Walton-Penner, and son-in-law, Greg Penner, who will also serve as primary owners of the team.
"Working together as a family is going to be great fun in this project," Rob Walton said.
This final approval, which was expected, comes two months after the Walton-Penner groupwith the Pat Bowlen Trust, and two weeks after the league's finance committee . It all follows a monthslong courting of potential buyers that came down to at least three serious candidates, a source told CBS4.
The Pat Bowlen Trust announced it was officially putting the team up for sale in February, weeks after a Denver judge ruled the heirs of former team owner Edgar Kaiser no longer had theto the franchise. Bowlen, who died in 2019, purchased the team from Kaiser for $78 million in 1984.
"Pat's leadership and commitment (was) to build a successful team and business and we'll continue to build one. Putting a winning team on the field is our No. 1 priority," Rob Walton said.
Once finalized, Walton's $4.65 billion purchase of the Broncos will be the highest price paid for a North American professional sports team, a record previously set in 2020 when billionaire Steve Cohen purchased the New York Mets for $2.4 billion. It would also top David Tepper's $2.275 purchase of the Carolina Panthers in 2018, the current NFL record.
Walton is the oldest son of the late Walmart founder Sam Walton. He took over as chairman of the company upon his father's death in 1992 and retired from the role in 2015. His net worth is estimated near $60 billion, making him the league's richest owner once the sale is final.
He is joined by his daughter Carrie Walton-Penner and her husband Greg Penner, who is the current chair of the Walmart board. Melody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments and board chair of Starbucks Corporation will also be part of the group, as well as former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.
On Tuesday Rob Walton released the following statement about the purchase of the Denver Broncos:
We are grateful for the support and trust of the National Football League and the 31 other teams with today's vote. We couldn't be more excited to join the Denver Broncos.
It's a responsibility and privilege to serve as stewards of such an iconic franchise. We have tremendous respect for what Pat Bowlen has meant to the Broncos and look forward to building on this organization's championship legacy.
While we're deeply committed to fielding a great team to win Super Bowls, our family and extraordinary partners are also dedicated to our off-the-field responsibilities to Broncos Country and the Rocky Mountain region.
Operating with integrity and accountability, we aim to draw on our individual strengths and those of the players, coaches and staff who have shaped the Broncos' storied history. And to that end, we want to thank Joe Ellis for his guidance throughout this process and his willingness to serve as an advisor to ownership for this season.
Across the entire organization, we will all continue to listen and learn.
Most importantly, we will strive to make the Denver Broncos the best team to cheer for, play for and work for in all of sports. Go Broncos!
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