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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Walton Transfers Broncos Controlling Ownership. What Does it Mean?

  • Penner becomes Broncos' designated controlling owner
  • Pegula again changing leadership of his Buffalo teams
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the NFL’s most popular franchises are looking at extended transition periods thanks to senior leadership changes.

The Denver Broncos have shifted controlling ownership of the team from Walmart heir Rob Walton — who led last year’s then-record $4.65 billion purchase of the team — to son-in-law and CEO Greg Penner. The shift brings the ownership structure more in line with its day-to-day management, as Penner has been leading franchise operations. 

NFL bylaws require that each team have a designated controlling owner, with that person owning at least 30%. In giving Penner that designation, some of Walton’s shares have been transferred to Penner’s four children. 

The Broncos’ new era is off to a rocky start on the field. The team finished 5-12 last year, a sixth-straight losing season, and are 1-4 this year. The Broncos face another difficult matchup Thursday night against Kansas City, which has defeated Denver in 15 straight games dating to 2015.

Buffalo Turmoil

Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula has fired both COO John Roth and Kathryn D’Angelo, the team’s senior vice president of business operations. Roth and D’Angelo were reportedly in a romantic relationship, creating an ethics issue, as Roth was D’Angelo’s superior in leading the business operations of both the Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

Roth had taken that role less than two months ago when Pegula restructured both the Bills and Sabres following July’s firing of Ron Raccuia, who previously oversaw both franchises on a day-to-day basis. Unlike the Broncos, the Bills are considered a Super Bowl contender. 

Both the Bills and Sabres are in the midst of significant facility transitions. The Bills are building a new stadium in Orchard Park, New York that will cost at least $1.7 billion.  

The Sabres are in the initial stages of planning a large-scale upgrade to their home arena, KeyBank Center. The 27-year-old, publicly owned venue in downtown Buffalo hasn’t undergone any major renovations since opening and will require several years to complete them during Sabres offseasons. 

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