A Trust in the name of former Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen who passed away in 2019 has put the team up for sale. Early indications are the team could garner a record price – not only for the NFL but all major North American professional team sports.
The news comes on the heels of hiring Nathaniel Hackett, the Green Bay Packers’ former Offensive Coordinator, to serve as its new head coach. He is set to work alongside George Paton who has been the team’s General Manager since January of 2020.
Allen & Company will serve as the Broncos’ financial advisor and Proskauer Rose LLP as its legal advisor.
Historically a lengthy process involving multiple parties and requiring league approval, Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis has been very upfront indicating they have every intention of finalizing a sale ahead of the beginning of the 2022 season.
Simultaneously, another entity continues to appeal an earlier judge’s denial of its perceived right of first refusal for them to buy the club. That would be former Broncos’ owner Edgar Kaiser Jr.’s heirs to be specific.
One initial estimate by Forbes pegs the Broncos’ value at $3.75 billion. Based on that figure, any asking price is sure to exceed the $4 billion threshold.
For comparison, three of the more recent sales completed of North American professional team sports franchises were the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets in 2017 for $2.3 billion, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers for $2.2 billion in 2018, and MLB’s New York Mets for $2.4 billion to Steven A. Cohen who founded SAC Capital Advisors with $10 billion in AUM (assets under management).
Rumored individuals exploring a purchase of the Broncos include Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame and Robert F. Smith the Chairperson of Vista Equity Partners. Additionally, while not confirmed, John Elway and Peyton Manning, have reportedly expressed interest in being part of a larger group to bid for the team.
As part of a potential sale, league rules require a majority owner to control at least 30%. That would mean, hypothetically, a $4 billion said would necessitate a minimum $1.2 billion involvement from a single party.
The Broncos’ last playoff appearance was in 2015, which is no coincidence that the season culminated in a Super Bowl championship led by Peyton Manning.
Since Manning’s departure, from 2016 through the 2021 regular season, the team has aggregated a disappointed record of 39 wins and 58 losses – with not a single winning record mixed in.
That said, the appeal of purchasing the Broncos is significant and makes quite a bit of sense for the right group, whether it is to a football super fan or money-hungry billion or anything in between (and rightly so).
- The team has won 3 championships in its history dating back to 1966.
- They have amassed 8 Super Bowl appearances – a roughly 14% hit rate in a league with 32 franchises – and 22 entrances into the playoffs overall including 15 AFC West division titles.
- 518 wins against 463 losses including all regular and postseason games.
- 8 individuals enshrined into the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame: Bowlen himself, Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, John Elway, Champ Bailey, Gary Zimmerman, and Floyd Little.
- An original member of the AFL, the Broncos have never been based in another city, always played under the same name, and been under the same ownership for the past 38 years, including, a total of only 4 in its history, including, Bowlen after his passing and losing battle with Alzheimer’s. It has been and continues to be perceived as an incredibly stable NFL franchise.
- Denver ranked 2nd in league attendance for the 2021 season with 686,129 total fans.
- A young and exciting and very talented cast of characters like Melvin Gordon (RB), Jerry Jeudy (WR), and Patrick Surtain (CB). The roster might very well be only a new QB away from truly being competitive again and punching its ticket again to the playoffs.