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The NFL has a new world champion – the most expensive sale of a sports team ever.
It used to be that inflation was the main driver for sports teams selling more and more millions of dollars.
As it now stands in the billions, there are clear and less clear reasons why the purchase price of a sports franchise is skyrocketing.
On the one hand, the richest of the rich have more money.
For one, the values of sports teams are increasing more frequently and faster these days than before.
Sports teams are not only bought by people who love the sport or a certain team and have a lot of money.
They are an investment now, even by groups of wealthy people who have no interest in sports at all. They just see that there will be an incredible return on investment, whether from team revenue or resale later.
The first leads to teams crying that they’re not making enough money, because that’s the only reason to own a sports team, not to get them to a championship, it’s to make money – and it turns out that winning a championship makes you more money.
The latter is proven by those who sell teams for record profit, turning something into a huge deal just because the right place, the right time (and the right to all those billions because you know, they alone have earned everything this money without anyone’s help).
If the sports teams rise in value, it is also thanks to us. We’re willing to (or feel we should) spend more on every little item, allowing the team to earn more, the league to earn more, and the players to earn more, all through our wallets.
Tickets? More expensive. Shirts and hats? After. Concessions? Haha oh yeah, you know for that $18 beer and that $12 hot dog. And perhaps even more importantly, television revenue, with bigger and bigger contracts being signed by the leagues now.
Thus, the value of a franchise increases, and there are only a limited number of people who can afford such a cost.
Which brings us to the latest record-breaking contract (which will likely be broken again over the next year and more).
The National Football League’s Denver Broncos are the latest sports franchise to go on sale, and the purchase price has topped anything that has come before it.
Yes, a team from Denver, Colorado, sold for more than two teams from Los Angeles (Baseball Dodgers, Basketball Clippers), two from New York (Baseball Mets, Basketball Brooklyn Nets) , and even a coveted English Premier League team (Chelsea).
What is the highest price ever paid for a sports team?
And that huge number is…$4.65 billion (dollars and dollars are needed for emphasis here lol).
That’s right, step back in time and put your little finger to the corner of your mouth and read this in the meanest Dr. Evil voice you have. Four point six billion dollars.
For a football team in Denver. It is therefore clear that the next team for sale will probably exceed this bar.
Prior to this sale, the last NFL team purchased was the Carolina Panthers in 2018, for $2.275 billion. In four years, while it’s not golden apples with apples, the purchase price of an NFL team hasn’t just gone up, it’s more than doubled!
And the sale price is more than $1.3 billion higher than the next highest sports team on the list – the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, which sold for $3.3 billion in 2019. if you include the cost of the Nets arena.
The reason the price is so high is that there are only a limited number of sports teams to buy and they don’t go on sale that often.
The other is that the value of the NFL is rising. He has a massive TV deal, and the Broncos are a well-known national entity thanks to multiple Super Bowl wins led by very famous legendary quarterbacks John Elway and Peyton Manning.
Elway won his titles in 1997 and 1998 and became an executive with the team. He has worked with the Broncos since 2011 as general manager and executive vice president, most recently stepping down as general manager but still serving as president of football operations. Elway also helped bring Manning to the team, seeing Denver win another Super Bowl in 2015 before Manning retired and continued to stay in the spotlight, now co-hosting an ESPN NFL show with his brother Eli called the Manningcast.
The team has star power, that’s for sure, and the city of Denver, really the whole state of Colorado, packs the stadium and keeps the team very profitable with a high level of fandom.
Who deposited nearly $5 billion?
Former Broncos owner Pat Bowlen bought the team in 1984 for $78 million. Bowlen passed away in 2019 and the Pat Bowlen Trust took over the team.
Broncos president Joe Ellis took over in 2014 when Bowlen admitted he had Alzheimer’s disease.
The sale of the NFL franchise was announced in February this year, and just four months later the tender was completed and finalized in early June 2022.
The group that came together to buy the Broncos is led by heir to the Walmart fortune, Rob Walton, the son of the superstore’s founder, Sam Walton.
Other members of the Walton-Penner family group include Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson, who is also chair of the board of Starbucks Corporation and also a director of JPMorgan Chase.
Carrie Walton Penner, daughter of Rob Walton and granddaughter of Sam, is also joining the purchase, along with her partner Greg Penner, a venture capitalist who was named president of Walmart in 2015.
“We are thrilled to have been selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos!” Rob Walton said in a statement regarding the sale. “Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to lead this great organization into a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans.
“Having lived and worked in Colorado, we’ve always looked up to the Broncos. Our excitement has only grown as we have learned more about the team, staff and Broncos Country over the past few months.
According to Forbes, Rob Walton’s net worth is $57.4 billion and he served as president of Walmart until 2015 when Penner took over.
It should be noted that the other three major sports franchises (and a lesser one, the National Lacrosse League) in Colorado are owned by Stan Kroenke, who married Ann Walton and is therefore part of the Walton family. That means all of Colorado’s major sports franchises except one — baseball’s Colorado Rockies — are owned by an extension of the Walton family.
The sale still needs to be approved by three-quarters of the NFL’s 32 owners and the process will likely take two to three months to become official, according to ESPN.