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Report: Broncos' Ownership Auction Receives 5 Bids to Purchase Team

The sale of the Denver Broncos is moving into the next phase.

The Denver Broncos received five initial bids to purchase the team this past Friday, with a sale of the team officially advancing to the next stage of the process according to a recent report by Sportico.

The report lists Walmart heir Rob Walton (the world's 19th-richest billionaire), Josh Harris of Apollo Global Management (previously of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers), and Todd Boehly, a Los Angeles Dodgers investor, as the three publicly-named suitors to have submitted initial offers to purchase the Broncos.

However, the other two bids did not reveal the names of the potential buyers due to exclusive privacy and anonymity on what is being estimated to be the largest sale of a professional sports team all-time, expected to fall in the $3.8-to-$4.0 billion range.

The report also reflects the NFL’s redirection of culture:

“All five Broncos groups are expected to have minority investors, a stated priority of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. While that’s difficult to require in an estate sale—the trustees have a fiduciary obligation to sell to the highest qualified bidder—Goodell has spoken openly about the league’s belief that it can diversify it ranks while maximizing the value of the club. There are very few non-white NFL owners, even among team limited partners.”

The investment and financial advisement firm of Allen & Co. is regulating the sale of the team on the behalf of the Pat Bowlen Trust and is expected to meet with the five prospective bidding groups alongside team representatives in early May.

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The NFL currently requires a controlling owner to possess at least 30% of the team and has previously limited ownership groups to 25 people that excludes private equity funds. Walton, who has an estimated net worth of $70.4 billion, was previously rumored to have been preparing a $4 billion bid and is the presumed leader in the clubhouse due to his massively deep pockets. 

I speculated last week that Walton’s multi-generational abundance of wealth will make it extremely difficult for other potential suitors to outbid him when the chips are down.

Harris is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $7.56 billion, and in addition to previously leading the 76ers, he's had his hands in the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and invests in English soccer club Crystal Palace. Harris also has had extensive experience in property and real estate as a private equity investor and philanthropist, so this could be an ideal opportunity for such a candidate with extensive experience in multiple professional sports to lead a new charge into the NFL.

Boehly is currently a minority owner of not only the Dodgers, but also has a stake in the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. He currently has a projected net worth of $4.72 billion, acquiring his wealth as a successful investor. 

Boehly was previously listed on the L.A. Business Journal’s list of 500 most influential people from 2017-2021. His investments in DraftKings could make him an enticing prospect to a league that has just struck gold with the modern proliferation of legalized sports betting.

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