Robert F. Smith emerges as potential bidder for Broncos
Not long after the Broncos announce their next coach, they’ll most likely be making an even more significant announcement. The team will be put up for sale.
Among the expected bidders for the franchise will be, according to A.J. Perez of FrontOfficeSports.com, Denver native Robert F. Smith.
If Smith emerges as the purchaser, he would become the NFL’s first Black controlling owner of a franchise.
Smith, as Perez notes, is worth $6.7 billion, according to Forbes. Smith would need to acquire at least 30 percent of the franchise. With the Broncos expected to fetch a price of $4 billion, he’d need to personally devote roughly $1.33 billion to the overall purchase, with the remainder coming from limited partners.
Woody Paige of the Denver Gazette, via Perez, has reported that six groups are prepared to make bids for the team. One group reportedly will be led by Brittany Bowlen, the daughter of the late Pat Bowlen.
For several years, three trustees have operated the team, at the direction of Pat Bowlen. Their goal was to identify whether and when one of Bowlen’s seven children would be ready to run the team. Without full agreement among the children regarding the sibling who will run the team, however, that designation becomes impossible. Some of the children, led by Brittany, could try to buy out the children who are unwilling to continue the arrangement with Brittany running the team.
Current Broncos executive John Elway and former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning reportedly are involved with two separate groups that hope to buy the team. Presumably, neither has enough assets to serve as the controlling owner.
Others tied to the possible purchase include Amazon gazillionaire Jeff Bezos.
The process will be competitive and potentially contentious. Ultimately, the winning bidder must secure approval from 24 of the league’s 32 owners.
Money will go a long way toward determining the purchase price. The ability of the winning bidder to properly finance team operations will be a major factor in the approval process.
Hovering over the sale is the reality that, with the passage of time, the team will become more and more valuable. The explosion of revenue from legalized gambling makes all teams worth more and more money. It also guarantees that whoever lands the asset will generate significant annual net revenues. In time, the investment would pay for itself, possibly multiple times over.
The process will begin with the expected announcement that the team is for sale. it will end with a new owner in place. Whether and to what extent the owner knows how to properly run the team (some owners do, some owners don’t) will go a long way toward determining whether the Broncos contend for playoff appearances and championships. Regardless, the new owner will annually win where it matters most -- on the balance sheet.