The Denver Broncos have entered a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner family ownership group, the sides announced Tuesday night.
Terms of the agreement, which will transfer the franchise from the Pat Bowlen Trust to the group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, were not announced. However, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports, that the agreed-to price is $4.65 billion, a record for a North American team.
The NFL’s finance committee and the league’s owners will need to approve the sale. Twenty-four yes votes from owners are needed for approval.
“Today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history,” team president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement.
“Learning more about [the Walton-Penner family’s] 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.”
The ownership group includes Rob Walton’s daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner.
Walton said in a statement, “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,” he added.
Walton said Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments and chairwoman of Starbucks, has agreed to join the ownership group.
Hobson is Black. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made minority ownership a point of emphasis in the league.
“Mellody currently serves as Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation and is also a director of JPMorgan Chase. We know she will bring her strategic acumen and leadership perspective to our team,” Walton said.
“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.”
The Pat Bowlen Trust has run the franchise for several years and last year put the club up for sale after Bowlen’s children couldn’t compete on a successor to their father.
Bowling died in 2019, a month shy of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.