Walmart Heir Pays Record Price for an NFL Team

Rob Walton will reportedly pony up $4.65B to buy the Denver Broncos
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2022 9:24 AM CDT
Walmart Heir Pays Record Price for an NFL Team
Then-Walmart Chairman Rob Walton speaks at a company shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Ark., on June 5, 2015.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

Up until this week, the most an NFL team has ever sold for is $2.3 billion. That record just got shattered, however, by the news that Walmart heir Rob Walton, one of the world's richest men, has agreed to buy the Denver Broncos for twice that price. A source tells the Wall Street Journal that Walton, 77, scooped up the Colorado team for $4.65 billion, though the team itself hasn't confirmed the price tag. Included in the Walton buying group are Carrie Walton Penner (Walton's daughter) and her husband, Greg Penner, who's currently Walmart's chairman. CBS Sports notes the deal is still pending approval by 24 of the NFL's 32 owners, but Broncos bigwigs are already publicly celebrating the news.

"Today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history," team CEO and President Joe Ellis says in a statement. For his part, Walton, the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, isn't saying much about the details or his plans for the team, but he notes he's "thrilled" about the purchase and that he's "excited to share more with Broncos fans, the organization, and the community" once all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. The former NFL record of $2.3 billion was held by hedge fund manager David Tepper, who paid that much for the Carolina Panthers in 2018.

CBS notes that the Broncos buy will make Walton, with an estimated net worth of $58.2 billion, the second richest sports owner in North America, per the latest stats from Forbes. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer still holds the No. 1 spot for that honor, with an estimated net worth of $89.4 billion. Yahoo Sports reports that the purchase will also bolster the extended Walton family's "near-total hold" on Colorado pro sports, as they already have ownership stakes in the Colorado Avalanche hockey team, Denver Nuggets NBA team, and Colorado Rapids pro soccer club. Both the Journal and Yahoo note that the deal marks the end of a stormy battle for ownership of the team ever since longtime owner Pat Bowlen, who'd had the team since 1984, died in 2019. (More Denver Broncos stories.)

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