NFL sources expect the Denver Broncos to hit the market in 2022 after what the team says will be an “orderly determination of ownership” — setting the stage for possibly the biggest franchise sale in U.S. sports history.
Pat Bowlen, who purchased the Broncos for $78 million in 1984, died in June 2019, exposing a struggle for the future of the franchise among some of his seven daughters, including a lawsuit brought by two of them that was dismissed in July.
While the team is currently not for sale and Bowlen’s descendants could keep it in the family, sources tell Front Office Sports the family’s differences, combined with the purchase price — expected to be around $4 billion — will likely lead to a sale.
Two names keep popping up as potential new NFL team owners, although it wouldn’t be a collaborative effort:
- Amazon founder Jeff Bezos: A rep for the world’s richest man previously held talks for a 40% stake in the Washington Football Team. A source with knowledge of the situation told FOS that Bezos remains interested in NFL ownership.
- Rapper-turned-mogul Jay-Z: Hip-hop’s first billionaire would need partners to purchase the Broncos. Forbes estimated his net worth at around $1.4 billion after the sale of champagne brand Armand de Brignac — he owned 50% when it was acquired by LVMH for $650 million in March.
Sports attorney Richard Roth said there will be no shortage of suitors because NFL ownership is “definitely a status symbol” for the super-rich and because of how quickly franchises can significantly increase in value.