Does Broncos’ record sale price take us further away from Black ownership in the NFL? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Senior NFL Writer Charles Robinson and ESPN’s Senior National NFL Writer Jeremy Fowler discuss the record $4.65 billion Walmart Heir Rob Walton and his group will pay to become the owners of the Denver Broncos. What does this astronomical number mean for the possibility of Black primary ownership of an NFL franchise? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: Robert Walton and Greg Penner, the Walton-Penner group, purchases the Denver Broncos, $4.65 billion, which more than doubles the $2.2, $2.3 billion that David Tepper paid for the Carolina Panthers in 2018. 2018 to 2020, that's some inflation for a--


CHARLES ROBINSON: --an NFL franchise to double in value. I-- my one takeaway from this is, damn, it's good to own an NFL team right now. Damn, it's good to be Jerry Jones when you-- Forbes annually says, by the way, you got the-- you have the greatest NFL brand and-- despite what's going on the field.

JEREMY FOWLER: Yeah. And he bought it for $84 back in the day.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, he bought it for, like, pennies on the dollar. There's that element of it. And then I think, though, what's interesting to me is the NFL came out recently, and they talked about how, hey, it's important for us in ownership-- and I'm paraphrasing here-- to have diversity-- diversity in ownership, right? And I think the NFL, without coming out and saying it, was basically suggesting-- I think; this is how I interpret it-- we would like to have a Black owner of an NFL team because we're trying to socially move ahead with the times.

And this is clearly part of it. It's not just head coaches or whatever. It's also the ownership ranks have lacked a Black owner in the history of the NFL. The problem is the number of American-born Black entrepreneurs out there that have now the money to-- the liquid funds to be a primary owner of an NFL team is almost zero.

It's almost-- I think now there's, like, 12 African-American billionaires in the United States. I mean, it might fluctuate here and there. But it's-- and American-born, it's even smaller than 12. So if you're talking about, [? hey, ?] someone who's born in America and comes here, whatever the case-- it's-- I just-- I don't know that there's ever going to be Black ownership of an NFL team, primary Black ownership, particularly not with the way that this is set up.

Or at least, look, American-born, OK. Now, it could be someone foreign-born who's African-American who now lives here, immigrated here, that could happen. But it creates a barrier, a wealth barrier, that's pretty significant.

JEREMY FOWLER: Yeah, and I do agree that I got the sense the NFL would like and would have loved, in this case, a minority owner. But the liquidation, as you say, is an issue, right? That $4.65 billion, I don't know if they're paying that up front.

I doubt it. But you gotta be able to cover it. You gotta be able to have that ready to go. And so I think when, you know, you have Byron Allen dynamic. You heard his name implicated with Denver. I think that would have been a case where you have a lot of minority owners involved. I mean, you split the pie like that, I think the NFL likes it cleaner where you have one or two people.


JEREMY FOWLER: And you can have others involved, certainly. But as far as the principals-- in part because you don't want to have to vet 30 people and have to worry about 30 people. Yeah, I mean, look what's happening with Daniel Snyder right now in Washington. That's just one person, right? So you want-- yeah, they want a cleaner process.

So I do think it will get there eventually as the money goes up. And for as big as the Denver number is in relation to Carolina, I'm still a little surprised. I thought to be closer to $5. I just-- we're talking about the Denver Broncos. I mean, we're talking top 10 brands.


JEREMY FOWLER: And I'd probably put Denver top 10.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, and there's been talk now, though, today, that there were other bidders, one in particular that was basically like, look, I will offer $5 if I know that this won't then be shopped and then beaten by the Walton-Penner group. And, I mean, look, will they pay it up front? I mean, look, Robson Walton-- by the way, I think I said Robert. It's Robson. But it's Rob Walton-- OK-- is the heir, obviously, of Walmart.

I mean, his net worth is-- and this fluctuates on any given week in the stock market-- it's at $58 billion, and you know-- which astronomically, far and away, makes him-- I mean, he could buy David Tepper three, four times over, who's the next nearest billionaire in terms of the richest owner in the NFL.

I just-- I mean, I don't know, as you said, to find minority ownership, if it's a really diverse group of owners, and then you sort of fractionalize how many pieces, how many individuals are holding the pieces of pie-- the NFL likes one. They're like, hey, that's fine. Ownership groups are fine. But you have to have a primary owner who holds the largest percentage-- a large percentage of the team.

And there has to be an element of liquid net worth. There can only be so many loans that are used to obtain funding. It's just they-- I mean, if they're really, truly into it to make this happen, they're gonna probably have to look at their funding rules. And by the way, the next team to be sold will probably be Seattle, OK? And Seattle's gonna go for more than this.

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