Although the Broncos went for an American sports-record $4.65 billion — to the Rob Walton-fronted group — last week, Walton’s was not the only bid that would have shattered the NFL record.
Josh Harris‘ group is believed to have bid between $4.25 billion and $4.5 billion, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Harris, who owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, was prepared to go $5 billion for the Broncos, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. But he was not assured Walton would not top that bid. That led to Harris’ group standing down, letting Walton’s bid win the historic sweepstakes. Harris is prepared to pursue ownership of another NFL team, Florio adds.
Tied to a net worth greater than $70 billion, putting him in position to be by far the NFL’s wealthiest owner, Walton had long been considered the frontrunner to acquire the AFC West franchise. Walton’s daughter (Carrie Walton Penner) and son-in-law (Greg Penner) are expected to run the day-to-day operations, Klis adds. Walton, 77, will continue to live in Arizona. Owners of the league’s other 31 teams will vote on this sale soon.
While Magic Johnson was part of Harris’ group, Klis notes Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis joined that investment team as well. Davis, 49, starred for the Broncos in the 1990s, seeing a 1999 knee injury shorten his career, and played seven seasons with the team.
“They reached out; we talked,’’ Davis said, via Klis, of his affiliation with Harris’ bid. “They said they were interested in bringing me in as part of their ownership group and they wanted to know if the feeling was mutual. And it certainly was. And then it was waiting to see what would happen. I was on standby hoping for the bid, but obviously it never came.”