The Denver Broncos have new owners — officially — after NFL owners give final OK

APTOPIX Colts Broncos Football
Brennan Linsley/AP
Fans cheer after singing the national anthem before a Broncos game in Denver in 2015.

The Walton-Penner Group officially owns the Denver Broncos.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that NFL owners unanimously approved the sale. The vote Tuesday required at least 24 of the 32 owners to approve the sale before it could become final.

“It’s been a great process. And I want to extend a thanks to all of the owners who we’ve been involved with,” Rob Walton said. “Their warm greeting and support as we’ve met them along the way has been good. It's a very wonderful group to become associated with.”

In June, the Walton-Penner Group entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the franchise. The group is led by Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune, as well as Carol Walton Penner, Walton’s daughter, and Greg Penner, her husband. The group will pay $4.65 billion to take over the team. Last month, the NFL Finance Committee reviewed and unanimously recommended that NFL owners approve the sale.

“It's also a responsibility and a privilege. The Broncos are an iconic franchise. That means a lot to Colorado and the whole Rocky Mountain region,” Greg Penner said. “We have enormous respect for Pat Bowlen and what he meant both to the Broncos and the NFL.”

Pat Bowlen, owner of the team since 1984, died in 2019. Under his ownership, the Broncos won three Super Bowls. The Bowlen Trust, which assumed ownership in the same year Bowlen died, announced in February that the team was up for sale.

“Putting a winning team on the field is our number one priority. We can't wait to get to Denver, join our new colleagues and get to work,” Rob Walton said.

The Broncos franchise went through a major overhaul during the offseason. George Paton was hired as general manager in January, and team President of Football Operations and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway turned over day-to-day responsibilities to him. Nathaniel Hackett was hired as head coach, replacing Vic Fangio. In March, quarterback Russell Wilson was acquired via trade from the Seattle Seahawks.

The new owners also say discussions of whether the Broncos will get a new stadium are premature.

“I'll say that Empower Field at Mile High is a world-class facility. It's hosted obviously football games, terrific other sporting events, and entertainment events,” Greg Penner said. “We've got a good partnership with the Metropolitan Football Stadium District and fortunately have almost 10 years left on our lease. We'll evaluate all of our options and really dig in and understand the situation before making any decision.”

The ownership group also has added some big names in recent weeks: Ariel Investments CEO and President Mellody Hobson, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and seven-time Formula One Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton were named limited partners.

Rob Walton talked about the diversity of the ownership group at a Tuesday press conference.

“We think diversity is important. We think diverse organizations are more successful organizations and we're looking forward to working with them,” Walton said. “They're off traveling and doing other things right now, but we'll all be together — except Lewis is in the middle of a season.”

The new ownership group plans to be in Denver on Wednesday.