Walmart Broncos? No, But Walmart Heirs Win Bidding For NFL Team With Record Price

The Denver Broncos have a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner family ownership group the NFL club announced late Tuesday night — a deal that makes the Broncos the most expensive professional team on Earth, a source confirmed to OutKick.

The Walton-Penner ownership group is led by Rob Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner — all of whom are part of the iconic family that is heir to retail giant Walmart.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but Denver’s KUSA-TV reported it was for $4.65 billion and an NFL source confirmed that was accurate.

That price tag is the highest any professional franchise has ever been sold for in America — surpassing the reported $2.4 billion the New York Mets were sold for in 2020. The sale also surpasses the $3.1 billion price tag the Chelsea Football Club, of the English Premier League, was sold for to an American-led consortium led Todd Boehly.

The Broncos’ sale agreement from the Pat Bowlen Trust must be approved by a three-fourths vote of NFL owners. That approval is expected barring unforeseen circumstances.

“While this purchase and sale agreement is pending approval from the NFL’s finance committee and league ownership, today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement released by the team.

“I have enjoyed getting to know Rob Walton, Carrie Walton Penner and Greg Penner throughout this process. Learning more about their background and vision for the Denver Broncos, I am confident that their leadership and support will help this team achieve great things on and off the field.”

Rob Walton, whose net worth has been estimated at $62 billion, thus will become the NFL’s richest owner.

“We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos! Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans.

“Having lived and worked in Colorado, we’ve always admired the Broncos. Our enthusiasm has only grown as we’ve learned more about the team, staff and Broncos Country over the last few months,” Walton added.

Walton said Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments and chairwoman of Starbucks, has agreed to join the ownership group. Hobson is black.

That matters to the NFL as commissioner Roger Goodell has made minority ownership a point of emphasis in the league with mixed success.

“Mellody currently serves as Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation and is also a director of JPMorgan Chase,” Walton said. “We know she will bring her strategic acumen and leadership perspective to our team.”

“We look forward to earning the confidence and support of the NFL as we take the next step in this process. When the necessary approval procedures are met, our family is excited to share more with Broncos fans, the organization and the community.”

Walton, 77, was chairman of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, from 1992-2015, when he retired. He is the eldest son of company founders Sam Walton and Helen Walton.

The Walton-Penner group prevailed after a first round of bids left five finalists. Those were invited to tour the team’s facilities and take a deeper dive into the franchise’s finances before the winning bidder was ultimately announced.

The Pat Bowlen Trust has run the Broncos for several years and last year put the club on the market after Bowlen’s children could not agree on a successor to their father. Bowlen died in 2019, a month shy of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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  1. If I’m not mistaken … “Walton heirs” own / have owned other Denver sports franchises – Nuggets and Avalanche. Stan Kroenke’s (married a Walton heir … Sam’s brother John’s daughter) bought the Rams (in St Louis) because his wife’s sister’s husband owned those Denver teams.
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    There’s probably a kinky story in all that.
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    • Yes – you are right. The Kroenke’s also own the Professional Lacross Team (Mammoth) and the MLS Team Colorado Rapids. They only team not owned by a Walton in Denver is the Rockies (which most of us here wish they would buy to as thier ownership is horrible).

      Also not mentioned but an interesting tidbit, Mellody Hobson is married to Geroge Lucas. So lots of money there too….

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