One way or another, the Denver Broncos will have a new owner in 2022. Rumors have swirled that Jeff Bezos may fill that role, as he already has a good reputation within the NFL community. Here is what you need to know about the Broncos’ ownership situation.
Are the Broncos for sale?
The Broncos’ ownership situation is murky, to put it mildly. The previous owner of the Denver Broncos was the beloved Pat Bowlen, who owned and managed the Broncos since 1984 until tragedy struck in the 2010s.
In 2014, Bowlen announced to the public that he had Alzheimer’s disease and would have to remove himself from any leadership role. As such, the ownership of the Broncos was placed in a trust fund, with the intent of ownership transferring to one of Bowlen’s children. Bowlen lost his battle with Alzheimer’s in 2019.
Since being placed in a trust, the Broncos haven’t had a real owner in the last seven years. The executor of the trust is Joe Ellis, who has been acting as a de facto owner. There have been numerous lawsuits between Bowlen’s children and the trust complicating the situation, as reported by The Denver Post.
That will all come to an end soon, as Ellis has promised “a transition to ownership that will take place next year prior to the start of the season,” per an official Broncos press conference.
There’s been speculation that Jeff Bezos is interested in the Denver Broncos
Ellis’ press conference has led to wild speculation about who will be the new owner of the Denver Broncos, with a focus on Jeff Bezos. If sold, the Broncos will probably be valued at $4 billion — which is chump change for the world’s richest man who has over $200 billion, according to Forbes.
Jay-Z has also been rumored as a possible buyer, per ProFootballTalk. While the rapper and entrepreneur is wildly successful, it is unlikely that he can buy the team outright. But he can become a significant stakeholder in the team’s equity, much like Jon Bon Jovi is with the Buffalo Bills. The NFL may be wise to cater Jay-Z, as there is a serious lack of diversity amongst NFL owners.
One possible option that should be getting more attention is Brittany Bowlen, the daughter of the previous owner. Bowlen has been involved with Broncos operations since 2019, leading various task forces within the organization. One of Bowlen’s challenges to becoming owner is that she would need the support of other trustees, aka her siblings. “I think she’s got the potential to do this, but we’ll have to see how it plays out,” Ellis said during the press conference.
However things play out, it won’t be known until the offseason. Ellis has repeatedly said that his focus over the next few months is on the team. He wants to help the Broncos reach the playoffs before finalizing the ownership question.
Other billionaires have wanted an NFL team
Becoming an NFL owner requires more than deep pockets. The blessing of current owners is mandatory for anyone shopping around for NFL teams. They tend to prefer business-minded people who aren’t too controversial. Such a saga played out when Rush Limbaugh attempted to purchase the Rams.
While Bezos has been the target of criticism, he’s no Rush Limbaugh. He has positive relations with the NFL, as Amazon Prime was a pioneer in live-streaming NFL games. Additionally, it seems Amazon will be more involved in NFL broadcasting, per CNBC.
But the value of any sports team is ultimately decided by fans’ involvement. Will Broncos country accept Jeff Bezos? As long as the Broncos are winning, there won’t be any complaints from the fans.