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Denver Broncos sale price expected to be ‘at least’ $5 billion, NFL owners have favorite

Matt Johnson
Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos sale was already expected to be for a record-setting price. Now because of a late entrant into the bidding war, it will likely result in a historic sale that more than doubles the previous NFL record.

Billionaire David Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers for $2.275 million in 2018, setting the mark for the most money ever spent to buy an NFL team. The most money ever spent on a North American sports franchise came in 2020, when Steve Cohen bought the New York Mets for $2.4 billion.

Forbes initially estimated the Denver Broncos franchise value at $3.75 billion, 10th in the NFL. Once the team was put up for sale, early estimates projected the cost would likely exceed $4 billion. Thanks to a lucrative year with NFL revenue soaring and sudden interest from Walmart heir Rob Walton, the bidding war is accelerating.

According to Pro Football Talk, the new expectation is that the winning bid will be for at least $5 billion and it could potentially exceed it.

Under stipulations in the will of former owner Pat Bowlen, the Broncos have to be sold to the highest bidder. It’s very favorable for Walton, whose net worth is estimated at $70 billion.

Related: How NFL stipulation will impact Denver Broncos sale

Any sale of the team would require final approval from NFL owners. However, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Walton is precisely who franchise owners want to win.

Why Rob Walton will likely win the Denver Broncos bidding war

NFL: Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The increased price is likely playing a huge factor in Walton becoming the favorite. As one of the richest people in the United States, he has the capital to easily afford to purchase the Broncos. He can buy the team on his own, while other bidders are part of groups pooling money together.

There is an opportunity for Walton to make global history. Once the sale is finalized, if it exceeds $5 billion, it will be the most expensive team purchase in sports history.

Walton would instantly become the richest owner in the NFL, easily surpassing the likes of Tepper ($16.7 billion), Stan Kroenke ($10.7 billion), Jerry Jones ($10.6 billion) and Robert Kraft ($8.3 billion). He also already has familial connections to the league, cousin by marriage to Kroenke.

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Months after the NFL seemingly wanted to push to have its first Black majority owner, it seems the Broncos are destined to be sold to the person who made the biggest offer and is an heir to a massive fortune.