The Broncos Sell For $ 4.65 Billion: Where It Ranks Among The Most Expensive American Sports Franchise Sales

The Denver Broncos are getting new owners. The team will be sold for a declared price of $ 4.65 billion to an ownership group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton. The Walton-Penner family will acquire the NFL franchise from the Pat Bowlen Trust, but it still needs to be approved by the NFL’s finance committee and league ownership before it can become official.

The Bowlen family has owned the Broncos since 1984, when they bought the franchise for $ 78 million. Pat Bowlen passed away in 2019, but his trust had run the franchise after his death.

If $ 4.65 billion ended up being the final number, the sale of the Broncos would set a record for the most money paid for an American sports franchise. That record currently belongs to the Brooklyn Nets, which were sold for $ 2.35 billion in August 2019. In terms of the NFL landscape, the record was set when David Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers for $ 2.275 billion in 2018.

There were a few American sports franchises that were sold for at least $ 1.2 billion: the Toronto Maple Leafs were sold for $ 1.3 billion in 2011 while the Buffalo Bills, Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners were sold for $ 1. 2 billion.

However, $ 2 billion is kind of uncharted territory. With the sale of the Broncos set to be so massive, here’s a look at the most expensive American sports franchise sales in history, which total at least $ 2 billion.

New York Mets: $ 2.4 billion (2020)

Businessman Steve Cohen bought the New York Mets for $ 2.4 billion in 2020. It’s the most money ever paid to buy a Major League Baseball team, as it surpassed the $ 2 billion sale of Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. The Wilpon family owned the Mets for the previous 34 years before Cohen bought the team.

Brooklyn Nets: $ 2.35 billion (2019)

The NBA also recently set a record for the largest team sale in league history. Businessman Joseph Tsai owned only 49% of the franchise, but managed to reach an agreement with majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov for full ownership of the team. Tsai originally bought his first stake in the Nets in 2017.

Carolina Panthers: $ 2.275 billion (2018)

If the sale of the Broncos ends up at $ 4.65 billion, it will easily break the previous record paid for an NFL franchise. Hedge fund manager David Tepper bought the Panthers from previous owner Jerry Richardson for $ 2.275 billion in 2018. Richardson was forced to sell the franchise after being fined nearly $ 3 million by the league for sexual and racial misconduct. Tepper also owns the city’s Major League Soccer franchise, Charlotte FC.

Houston Rockets: $ 2.2 billion (2017)

Before the Nets set a new record of $ 2.35 billion, Houston area businessman Tilman Fertitta bought the Rockets for $ 22 billion from previous owner Leslie Alexander. Fertitta had also attempted to acquire the NFL’s Houston Texans and NHL’s Arizona Coyotes in the past.

Los Angeles Dodgers: $ 2.15 billion (2012)

In 2012, Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt were in the midst of a bad divorce. As a result, the family was forced to sell the team for $ 2 billion to Guggenheim Baseball Management, which included former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson. It was a record price at the time, before the Rockets surpassed that total in 2017.

Los Angeles Clippers: $ 2 billion (2014)

That’s right, there have been a couple of high-profile sales involving professional sports teams in Los Angeles over a two-year period. The NBA forced previous owner Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after making racist comments. Sterling was fined $ 2.5 million and banned from the NBA for life as well as having to sell the team. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bought the Clippers for $ 2 billion, just short of the Dodgers’ record two years earlier.

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