This story has been updated from a previous version.
The Pat Bowlen estate has agreed to sell the Broncos. The group sold Denver’s NFL franchise for a whopping $4.65 billion, more than doubling the NFL’s previous record sale of $2.3 billion for the Panthers. On Monday, it was reported the other NFL owners are going to approve the sale on Tuesday by Adam Schefter.
The group buying the Broncos is known as the Walton-Penner family group. They are led by Rob Walton, the Walmart heir who ranks as one of the richest people in the world, and other members of his family, as one might expect.
“I have enjoyed getting to know Rob Walton, Carrie Walton Penner and Greg Penner throughout this process,” Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. “Learning more about their background and vision for the Denver Broncos, I am confident that their leadership and support will help this team achieve great things on and off the field.”
The Waltons will actually be somewhat familiar to Colorado sports fans. They are connected to each of Denver’s four major sports teams, as Rob Walton’s sister Ann is married to Stan Kroenke. She is the owner of the Avalanche and Nuggets while Kroenke owns the Rapids of MLS and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (in addition to the Los Angeles Rams and Premier League club Arsenal).
But what do you need to know about the Walton-Penner family group? Here’s a brief bio on each of the new ownership team’s four key members.
Who is buying the Broncos?
The Broncos are being bought by the Walton-Penner family group. They are comprised of four key members, who are as follows:
- Rob Walton
- Carrie Walton Penner
- Greg Penner
- Mellody Hobson
Update: The NFL owners have unanimously approved sale of the Broncos to the Walton-Penner family group.
“We will strive to make the Denver Broncos the best team to cheer for, play for and work for in all of sports. Go Broncos!”— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 9, 2022
A statement from Rob Walton on behalf of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group: pic.twitter.com/Cu8zQfTSAU
Who is Rob Walton?
Rob Walton is the oldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton and his wife Helen. He attended the College of Wooster and the University of Arkansas before getting his law degree at Columbia. He served as a member of the law firm that represented Walmart for about a decade from 1969 through 1978 before becoming senior vice president of the company.
Eventually, the younger Walton took over for his father as the chairman of the board of directors following the elder Walton’s death in 1992. The 77-year-old served in that role until stepping down in 2015 and has a net worth of $58.2 billion, per Forbes.
Who is Carrie Walton Penner?
Carrie Walton Penner is one of Rob Walton’s three children. She attended Georgetown and Stanford and has a master’s degree in education policy and program evaluation.
Penner, 51, has worked as a part of the Walton Family Foundation as an education program officer. Currently, she is working as a part of the charter school movement, as she is a board member of the KIPP Foundation, the Alliance for School Choice and the Charter School Growth Fund.
Who is Greg Penner?
Greg Penner, 52, is the husband of Carrie Walton Penner. The two attended Georgetown and Stanford together and later married, making Penner a part of the Walton family.
Penner has been the chair of Walmart since June 5, 2015. He took over for his father-in-law, Rob Walton, and now has helped him to buy the Broncos.
Who is Mellody Hobson?
Mellody Hobson is the co-CEO of Ariel Investments, an investment company based in Chicago that “uses the market’s short-term focus to uncover mispriced companies,” per the company’s official website.
Additionally, Hobson serves as the Chair of the Board of the Starbucks Corporation and as a director of JPMorgan Chase. She also is well-known for her marriage to “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” creator George Lucas. The two married in 2013.
Lewis Hamilton joins Broncos ownership
The Walton-Penner group added to their ownership team shortly ahead of the 2022 NFL season. On Aug. 2, 2022, the team announced in a statement that F1 driver Lewis Hamilton would be a part of the group.
We’re delighted to welcome seven-time Formula One World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton to our ownership group. He is a champion competitor who knows what it takes to lead a winning team and a fierce advocate for global equality, including in his own sport.
With over 100 race wins, Lewis is considered the most successful F1 driver of his time. His resilient spirit and standard of excellence will be an asset to the ownership group and the Broncos organization.
Hamilton, 37, is one of the best F1 drivers in the history of the sport. He has won seven World Drivers' Championship titles — tied for the most all time — and has logged 103 wins over the duration of his career, the most ever.
Richest NFL owners by net worth
Walton now ranks as the richest NFL owner by a wide margin. He is the 22nd richest person in the world with a net worth of $58.2 billion, according to Forbes' real-time billionaire list. That is more than triple what the NFL’s second-richest owner, David Tepper of the Panthers, is worth.
Below is a list of the NFL’s 10 richest owners. Four owners currently have a net worth of at least 10 billion and all of the top 10 have at least $5.8 billion to their names.
|1||Rob Walton||Broncos||$58.2 billion|
|2||David Tepper||Panthers||$16.7 billion|
|3||Jerry Jones||Cowboys||$12.8 billion|
|4||Stan Kroenke||Rams||$10.7 billion|
|5||Robert Kraft||Patriots||$8.3 billion|
|6||Stephen Ross||Dolphins||$8.2 billion|
|7||Shahid Khan||Jaguars||$7.7 billion|
|8||Arthur Blank||Falcons||$6.9 billion|
|9||Steve Bisciotti||Ravens||$5.8 billion|
|10||Terry Pegula||Bills||$5.8 billion|