Bid on three groups, including Walton –

The Denver Broncos bidding has narrowed down to three main groups, led by Rob Walton, Josh Harris and the founders of Clearlake Capital.

Four groups submitted bids before the Monday night deadline, according to multiple league sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is private. Of those four, three are considered competitive, the people said.

Walton is believed to be the frontrunner, due to his immense wealth and ties to Colorado. The group led by Harris, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, includes Magic Johnson. The consortium led by Clearlake Capital co-founders Behdad Eghbali and José Feliciano includes renowned sports investors Mark Walter and Todd Boehly.

It’s unclear who the fourth group is, or how high the bids are. This week’s offers aren’t binding or final, but they do give a better look at what will likely be the most expensive franchise sale in sports history.

Representatives for the Broncos and Allen & Company, which sells the team, declined to comment.

Walton is worth approximately $60 billion, which would make him the richest owner in the NFL by a factor of three. He also owns several properties in Colorado, and his inclusion in this process could easily dampen the interest of others in the future. The team is being sold by late owner Pat Bowlen’s trust, which has a fiduciary duty to sell to the “highest qualified bidder”.

That created an interesting dynamic among some Broncos bidders. If any of the other groups think they might be interested in the next NFL team to hit the market, they might conclude that a bidding war with Walton would be a fruitless endeavor that would also drive up the price of the future NFL teams.

Either way, the Broncos are likely to get the highest price ever paid for a professional sports franchise. That’s currently the $3.3 billion Joe Tsai spent to buy the Brooklyn Nets and the operating rights to Barclays Center, which closed in 2019. Sportico currently values ​​the Broncos at $3.8 billion, and the Broncos are expected to sell for over $4 billion.

Laura J. Boyer