NFL owners OK sale of Broncos to Walmart heir Rob Walton

NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Denver Broncos to an ownership group led by Rob Walton, whose father founded Walmart, on Tuesday at league meetings in Bloomington, Minn.The Walton-Penner Ownership Group agreed to pay $4.65 billion — a record price for a sports franchise — to settle the purchase from the Bowlen family. The late Pat Bowlen, and his heirs, had owned the team for 38 years.The two sides agreed to the deal in June.”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,” Walton said in a news release Tuesday.”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.”Forbes pegs the net worth of the 77-year-old Walton at $65 billion, putting him in 19th place on the publication’s list of billionaires. He is the richest owner in the NFL, with only Steve Ballmer of the Los Angeles Clippers worth more — $91.4 billion — among North American sports teams.The previous record sales price for an NFL franchise was the $2.275 billion David Tepper paid for the Carolina Panthers in 2018.Walton’s ownership team also includes his daughter, Carrie, and her husband, Greg Penner, as well as notables such as Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton. The Penners are expected to lead day-to-day operations.”Looking ahead, I am confident the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group will add to the Broncos’ championship tradition on and off the field while putting their own stamp on this great organization,” said longtime Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis, who is stepping down as the franchise changes hands. “I was asked by them to serve as an advisor to ownership for this season, and I’ve accepted their request to help in the transition however possible.”