The Broncos have narrowed their prospective owner list to five, according to Mike Klis of 9News, who adds the first of those groups — the one fronted by New Jersey Devils owner and Philadelphia 76ers managing partner Josh Harris — met with Broncos executives and bank and transaction lawyers Thursday.
Harris’ group is believed to now have a big name attached. Magic Johnson has joined the group, according to Sportico (on Twitter). This is interesting considering Johnson partners with another of the Broncos’ ownership candidates — Todd Boehly — in a consortium that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The NBA icon and former Lakers president of basketball operations has a 2.3% stake in the Dodgers, making a $50MM investment. The Broncos are expected to be sold for more than $4.5 billion, which will shatter an American sports record. The NFL has sought minority representation in the next Broncos ownership group, though Harris’ contingent is not believed to be the favorites. Walmart chairman Rob Walton is believed to be the frontrunner, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes his group and Boehly’s will visit soon (Twitter link). This process remains on track to be resolved before the season, RapSheet adds.
John Elway and Peyton Manning have been mentioned as interested parties, but Klis adds neither are expected to join a group until the bidding is settled. Elway remains interested in an advisory role with the eventual owner. The former Broncos GM currently serves as a consultant to successor George Paton.
A second round of bids has not yet taken place, per Klis. The highest bid must be accepted, with the winner then needing to be approved by three quarters of NFL owners. The last NFL sale ended with David Tepper‘s Panthers acquisition being approved by a 32-0 margin. Harris, 57, is well known in NFL circles, having bought the 5% stake in the Steelers that Tepper sold upon buying the Panthers.