HEADLINES

As Elway, Manning enter picture, here’s the latest on Broncos ownership

Sep 20, 2021, 11:46 AM | Updated: 12:05 pm
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08: Peyton Manning poses with Annabel Bowlen and other members of the Bowlen...
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The latest curve in the road leading to new ownership of the Denver Broncos seemingly pits two franchise greats against each other for the right to call the club their own.

Dueling reports surfaced Sunday wherein in both Peyton Manning and John Elway were said to have emerged as possible candidates to take over control of the team — at least as part of an ownership group.

However, the two powerhouses aren’t the only big names linked to the team, and many scenarios are still on the table.

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Who else could make a play for the Broncos?

Last week, Front Office Sports’ A.J. Perez reported that two names keep “popping up as potential new NFL team owners” — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.

Bezos reportedly has been interested in an NFL franchise for some time, recently including the Washington Football Team, and has the ability to do so on his own. According to Forbes, Bezos is worth $194.5 billion.

Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, is also a billionaire — with a reported net worth of $1.4 billion — but, like Elway and Manning, would likely need to assemble an ownership group to afford the Broncos.

According to CBS Sports, multiple potential ownership groups would also have interest in owning the franchise and would have “strong support among owners and investment bankers who have ties to the Rocky Mountain region.”

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How much will it cost to buy the Broncos?

Just last month, Forbes released its NFL franchise valuations, putting the Broncos price tag at a whopping $3.75 billion — good enough for 10th among all the league clubs.

The Denver franchise saw a one-year increase of 17 percent, up from $3.2 billion in 2020, which ranks tied for fifth among its peers. And since 2013, the Broncos’ value has increased by nearly 133 percent.

But with the advent of sports betting, that most recent valuation could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said at the beginning of training camp this year that there used to be “great resistance” by the league to partner with gambling entities, but “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

“It’s become the norm across the world, and now with the use of technology and the phones that are all in our pockets, it’s there to stay,” Ellis said. “There’s the way we can associate with the various entities and corporations that are involved in gambling and maintain the integrity of the game. I believe that can still be done, and it is being done.”

•••

What does this mean for the Bowlen children?

Ellis, who’s a part of the three-person Pat Bowlen Trust that currently controls the team, said in late July that the Broncos are currently “not for sale.”

However, a timeline for transition of ownership will be revealed after this current season and completed before the start of the next.

At that time, a “sale of the team is always possible,” Ellis said. But if it is to stay in the Bowlen family, “Brittany is really the other option.”

“There are certain, as I said, conditions that will go with that,” Ellis said. “They could come in various forms. There might be one or two other options within that option.”

If indeed the team does end up being sold, the seven Bowlen children who each own a 11.4 percent stake — Amie, Beth, Pat, John, Brittany, Christianna and Annabel — could stand to make a significant chunk of change.

At Forbes latest valuation of $3.75 billion, each would stand to make $427.5 million. Late owner Pat Bowlen’s brother, John, who has a 22 percent non-voting stake as well, would stand to make $825 million.

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As Elway, Manning enter picture, here’s the latest on Broncos ownership