According to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, the Broncos reached a $4.65 billion sale deal with family-owned Walton-Penner on Tuesday. The sale is subject to review by the NFL Finance Committee, and 24 league owners must vote yes for the transaction to be approved.
The Walton-Penner group includes Rob Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner and her husband Greg Penner. The ownership group also includes Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments, chair of the board of Starbucks Corp. and director of JP Morgan Chase. Walton is an heir to the Walmart retail fortune and served as the company’s chairman from 1992 to 2015.
Read more: Everything you need to know about the Broncos sale
The historic sale of the Broncos made us think of other purchases of historic teams in American sports.
Here is a list of some of the most expensive franchise buys in American sports:
Selling price: $4.65 billion
The pending purchase of the Broncos by the Walton-Penner Group for $4.65 billion beats the previous record selling price for an NFL team by a wide margin. Former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson sold the franchise to billionaire David Tepper for $2.275 billion in 2018. It’s also more than $2 billion more than the next U.S. sports team sale. the closest.
Walton’s net worth is $57.9 billion, according to Forbes. His cousin and another Walmart heir, Ann Walton, is the wife of Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Kroenke also owns three Colorado sports teams: the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, and the Colorado Rapids of MLS.
Selling price: $2.4 billion
The Mets had the honor of having the most expensive team sale in American sports until the Broncos arrived. In 2020, hedge fund manager Steve Cohen bought the Mets for $2.4 billion. The Los Angeles Dodgers previously held the mark of MLB’s most expensive team sale when they sold for $2 billion in 2012.
Cohen is the founder of Point 72 Asset Management and the now defunct SAC Capital Advisors.
Selling price: $2.35 billion
In 2019, Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai bought the Nets for $2.35 billion from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Tsai already had 49% ownership of Prokhorov in 2018, but has accelerated the timeline for full ownership. Along with the then-record Brooklyn purchase, Tsai also bought Barclays Center, the home arena for the Nets, in a separate deal for around $1 billion.
Brooklyn isn’t the only New York-based sports team that Tsai owns. He purchased the New York Liberty franchise from the WNBA in January 2019.
Selling price: $2.275 billion
The Panthers became available for sale following the 2017 NFL season after charges of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct were brought against former owner Richardson. Tepper, whose net worth is $16.7 billion according to Forbes, bought the team for $2.275 billion. Prior to taking over Carolina, Tepper held a 5% stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Appaloosa founder also spent $325 million in 2019 to bring his 30th team, Charlotte FC, to MLS.
Selling price: $2.2 billion
Former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander sold the team to billionaire and Texas native Tilman Fertitta for $2.2 billion in 2019. Fertitta grew up in Galveston, Texas, and was a regular assistant at games in Houston before buying the franchise.
According to his website, he is the sole owner of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns restaurant giant Landry’s, Golden Nugget casinos and hotels, and the Rockets. Fertitta also has her own CNBC TV show called “Million Dollar Buyer”.
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