Magic Johnson joins ownership group bidding for Denver Broncos sale

Magic Johnson, Denver Broncos

The looming Denver Broncos sale already features numerous marquee names among the parties bidding for ownership. Now, Hall of Fame guard Magic Johnson is reportedly joining a crowded field that includes Peyton Manning and John Elway.

Denver’s NFL franchise was officially put up for sale this offseason after a Denver District Court judge’s ruling in January ruled that a right of first refusal was no longer valid. With the trust that former owner Pat Bowlen left the team to, given clearance to put the team up for sale.

When the Broncos are sold, it’s widely expected the final total will set records for the highest purchase price ever for an American professional sports team. Previously, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper set the NFL record in 2018 for $2.2 billion.

Related: Bids for Denver Broncos sale exceeding $4 billion

While a final sale of the Broncos isn’t expected to go through and be approved by the NFL until later this year, finalists for the club have emerged. Among them are Walmart Rob Walton ($70.4 billion net worth) and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Josh Harris.

According to Yahoo Sports, Johnson is now part of the bidding war following his inclusion into the group led by Harris. At the time of the reporting, it’s unclear exactly how much capital Johnson would be contributing.

Johnson’s inclusion in the group is important. While the NFL wants to maximize its potential earnings – any deal will push the franchise values of every team up – it also recognizes the lack of diversity in the ownership ranks.

The NFL had hoped from the start that billionaire Robert F. Smith would buy the Broncos, immediately becoming the first Black majority owner in the league. However, there are conflicting reports about his level of interest. Media mogul Byron Allen at one time was believed to be in the mix to buy the team and he also could become the NFL’s first Black majority owner.

Related: How NFL rule will impact Denver Broncos sale

Johnson’s involvement in the bidding war comes at an interesting time. The HBO series “Winning Time” recently included a moment when Nike’s Phil Knight offered Johnson $100,000 in Nike stock when he was a rookie as part of a shoe contract. Johnson ultimately turned it down, a choice that cost him $1 billion in conservative estimates.

Now, Earvin “Magic” Johnson could now have a shot at redemption by buying into the NFL as the sport keeps generating record-setting revenue. Of course, the eventual Broncos sale will prove to be a painful reminder for John Elway of what he missed out on decades ago.

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