NFL Owners Greenlight Retail Billionaire’s Record Purchase Of Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos were officially sold to a group headed by Walmart heir Rob Walton
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The son of Walmart founder Sam Walton has officially taken ownership of the NFL’s Denver Broncos after ponying up a mile-high pile of money and earning the unanimous approval of fellow owners.

Rob Walton headed up a group that paid a record $4.65 billion for the team. Walton is the 19th richest person in the world with a Forbes-estimated net worth of $65 billion, and is now the richest owner in the league. Next is Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, who is worth $16.7 billion.

“We are grateful for the support and trust of the National Football League and the 31 other teams with today’s vote,” Walton said in a statement. “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.”

The deal has been in the works since June, and the price tag is the highest ever paid for a sports franchise in the United States. The family trust of longtime owner Pat Bowlen was the seller. Bowlen bought the team in 1984, but died in 2019 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Walton’s ownership group includes his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner, as well as former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“We have tremendous respect for what Pat Bowlen has meant to the Broncos and look forward to building on this organization’s championship legacy,” Walton said.

The storied team, which was founded in 1960, has won three Super Bowl championships, in 1997, 1998, and 2015. Hall of Famers John Elway and Peyton Manning have quarterbacked the Broncos to NFL championships and other Denver players now enshrined in Canton include Floyd Little, Terrell Davis, Champ Bailey, and Steve Atwater.

The team posted a disappointing 7-10 record last season and missed the playoffs. But the offseason signing of former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has fans hoping for a post-season berth in 2022.

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