Next round of bids coming in Denver Broncos sale with no favorite emerging, source says

The Broncos will accept a second round of bids Monday from candidates seeking to buy the franchise, a source confirmed.

Four groups are expected to be part of the next stage in a process that should shatter the previous record for purchase of an NFL franchise.

The groups, as first reported by 9News, are led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris, private equity firm founder Jose E. Feliciano and Mat Ishbia, another private equity firm billionaire who was a reserve on the 2000 Michigan State men’s basketball team that captured a national championship.

A report by Forbes on Monday morning said Walton is expected to acquire the Broncos with a winning bid of $4.5 billion, but a source told The Athletic no favorite had emerged with the next round of bidding in the auction set to take place Monday afternoon.

The Broncos will have a new owner for the first time since the late Pat Bowlen, who passed away in 2019 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease, bought the team in 1984 for roughly $70 million. The new sales price will likely double the $2.28 billion that was paid by David Tepper when he bought the Carolina Panthers in 2018, the last NFL franchise to go up for sale.

Broncos CEO Joe Ellis, a member of the three-person Pat Bowlen Trust that has run the franchise for the better part of the last decade, has said the Broncos expect the sale of the franchise to be completed by the start of the 2022 season.

The ownership transfer, when it becomes official, will complete an offseason of significant change for the Broncos, who hired first-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett in January and swung a trade for nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson in March.

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)