In early February, the Pat Bowlen Trust announced that it was putting the Denver Broncos up for sale, signaling the end of the 38-year ownership tenure for the Bowlen family. On Friday, the New York Post reported that Rob Walton, son of Helen and Sam Walton and heir to their Walmart fortune, is expected to submit a $4 billion bid for the team.
Walton, with a net worth of nearly $70 billion, would presumably be able to purchase the team without any other partners, but would also be subject to the standard vetting process prospective NFL owners undergo. If accepted, the $4 billion price tag would easily be the record price for the sale an American professional sports franchise. David Tepper paid $2.2 billion for the Carolina Panthers in 2018, then Joe Tsai paid $2.3 billion for the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
The Post additionally reported that the Broncos are only accepting offers of $4 billion or more, noting that insiders project a final sale price between $4.5 billion and $5.5 billion. Apollo Global Management founder Josh Harris, who also owns the Philadelphia 76ers, is expected to submit a bid as well, per The Post.
CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported in late February that the NFL had strong interest in courting Robert F. Smith, the CEO of Vista Equity Partners and the richest Black man in America, as a potential buyer, but that Smith appeared uninterested in submitting a bid. (The Post reported that he would not want to submit a bid while raising capital for his fund.) La Canfora also noted the groundswell of rumors around Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen, but indicated that he did not expect an Allen-led bid to prevail. With the league not having any Black majority owners, bids from Smith and/or Allen would likely be given strong consideration.
Walton’s bid would likely be given strong consideration as well, given his fortune and the fact that his cousin, Ann, is married to Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke.