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Denver Broncos sale reportedly not down to 2 finalists, other groups involved

Matt Johnson
Denver Broncos
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

While the record-breaking Denver Broncos sale will go through this year, news of the bidding war being narrowed down to two finalists is reportedly false.

Woody Paige of The Gazette reported Thursday via multiple sources that two ‘front-running candidates’ emerged as finalists to buy the Broncos. The two competing bids were believed to be from Walmart heir Rob Walton and a group led by Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Josh Harris.

Walton emerged as a leading candidate in recent weeks, bringing an estimated net worth of $70-plus billion to the table. With the final purchase price of Denver’s NFL team set to exceed $4 billion, Walton has the capital to meet the stipulations put in place by the NFL.

Related: How NFL rule will impact Denver Broncos sale

The expectation remains that NFL team owners will vote on whether or not to approve the winning bid later this year. However, NFL insider Benjamin Allbright shared Thursday night that reports of only two finalists remaining is false.

Allbright, an NFL report based in Denver, spoke to someone involved in the process of the sale. The source involved in the process said they were shocked at any report about “finalists” and said the team is bringing in multiple groups in the coming weeks.

Harris, who has an estimated net worth of $7.3 billion, is firmly believed to be in the mix to buy the team. While full details of his offer aren’t disclosed, Hall of Fame guard Magic Johnson is part of the group competing with Walton to purchase the Broncos.

Currently, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper holds the record for the most ever spent on an NFL team at $2.275 billion in 2018. In Major League Baseball, billionaire Steve Cohen finalized a takeover for the New York Mets in 2020 at a $2.4 billion purchase price.

Related: Bids for Denver Broncos sale exceeding $4 billion

Estimates for the final sale of the Broncos are between $4-to-$5 billion, potentially matching or even surpassing the combined total Tepper and Cohen spent for their respective teams.

Forbes ranked the Denver Broncos as the 10th most valuable NFL team in 2021. Given the uncertainty surrounding Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder – under investigation by the FTC, Congress and the NFL – any future sale of the Commanders would exceed $5 billion with a fierce bidding war for the club.

Additionally, the NFL is investigating Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross after former coach Brian Flores alleged Ross offered payments for every game the team lost in 2019.