Broncos can diversify NFL ownership, but nepotism prevents

There are currently five ownership groups vying to buy the Denver Broncos. But despite the five options to choose from – promising the groups a fair shot – transparency in the competition, the league seems ready to sell the Broncos to this old, white billionaire.

Rob Walton, cousin of Rams owner Stan Kroenke և heir to Walmart’s fortune, is likely to be the next owner of the Denver Broncos. Walton is about as rich as they are at $ 65.5 billion. It was originally predicted that the Broncos would sell for about $ 4 billion, making the team the most expensive professional sports franchise in North America, a major pocket change for Walton. As of Tuesday morning: programs were circulating that now the sale price of the team is expected to exceed $ 5 billion. There are not many people who can compete with Walton’s vast wealth in this field, ճնշ the vast majority of people who can, other than old, rich, white men.

According to a source close to the bidding process, Walton offered to sweeten the deal by allocating $ 1 billion for the new Denver stadium, he said, adding that he would simply surpass other groups who would try to run hard. under ownership.

The NFL has a diversification problem off the field, և we see that in its hiring practices մեջ in the current demographic of NFL team owners today. Only three of the 32 teams are non-white. Shad Khan Jacksonville Jaguars owner Kim Pegula, who owns Buffalo Bills with her husband Terry, are the only two owners born outside the United States and are not white. Sheila Ford Hemp, the descendant of the extremely wealthy Ford և Firestone family, is the main owner of the Lions. The NFL has had 110 top NFL team owners over the past 100 years. according to the Associated Press. Khan և Pegula are the only two non-white people to hold those positions during that period.

Ahead of the Super Bowl, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that increasing diversity among homeowners is a priority.

“We would like to see different owners of the team,” said Goodell. Via CNBC. “Whether it is a person of color, a woman or a man, we think it will be a really positive step for us – something we have encouraged.”

If the NFL really wants to make the league more diverse off the pitch, it has to do something at the property level. But, apparently, this will not happen with the sale of the Broncos.

What we already know about the sales process

Pat Bowlen bought the Broncos for $ 71 million in 1984, and when he died in June 2019, the team moved to the Pat Bowlen Trust. The Broncos announced in February 2022 that the team will be available for sale. The Bowlen Trust has hired Steve Greenberg of Allen & Company as their financial advisor and Joe Leccese of Proskauer Rose LLP as a sales legal advisor.

We are aware of the identities of three of the groups that applied in the team. In addition to Walton, there is a group led by Josh Harris, who co-owns the Philadelphia 76ers և New Jersey Devils, ը a group led by Todd Bohl. who is an investor in Los Angeles Dodgers. There are two groups of owners whose information is not available to the public.

What sets Walton apart from these other groups, you guessed it, is his deep pockets. And no matter what is promised to potential ownership groups in terms of fairness and transparency in the process, deep pockets seem to be the deciding factor.

Walton’s candidacy is backed by Kroenke, who is already a member of the NFL’s wealthy boys’ club, a behind-the-scenes source told SB Nation that Kroenke is supporting Walton with other NFL owners. .

“I know there are a lot of backlogs, billionaires are all just playing with people’s lives as if they were chess pieces,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was close to selling. “But at the end of the day, what we do know is that Stan Kryonke was mostly lobbying to put pressure on the other owners of the team. [Rob Walton] to say that there is only one group you have to vote for և you will vote, [the owners are] a similar group. Thus, in all respects, the process seems to have been falsified in favor of Rob Walton, which, unfortunately for the League, is a kind of perpetuation of the same reality that causes all the problems of minorities and social justice.

“You can draw platforms on the pitch with the players’ helmets.” But the reality is that you do not change the basic structure of what drives the league’s economy, how that value is distributed among all stakeholders in a fairer way, how you can have the proper representation of all stakeholders. ”

It’s hard to do when the purchasing power required to buy a team is so high at first. Walton, who inherited the wealth his family built to run small businesses outside of business in the United States at low Walmart prices, would not need to borrow to buy the Broncos, and he could was. Easily put in an extra billion here to build a new stadium in Denver, and an extra billion there for the cost of other bidders.

Does Denver need a new stadium?

Objectively, no. At least not according to Broncos fans. Responds through SB Nation.

One billion dollars is not going to completely finance the brand new, modern multifunctional stadium. SoFi Stadium, where the Ramsey ջ Chargers play their home games, is estimated to have cost between $ 4 billion and $ 5 billion. The Allegiant Stadium, home to Las Vegas raiders, was valued at $ 1.9 billion. Given the current challenges in the supply chain ացումը the rising cost of construction materials, the $ 4 billion for a new stadium that meets modern NFL standards is a fairly conservative estimate. And based on the NFL’s recent history, it is fair to expect that all of the more than $ 1 billion in spending that Walton is reportedly willing to throw out will come out of Denver taxpayers’ pockets.

Nepotism’s racist mercenaries hold back the NFL

Interestingly, this rumor goes around the Broncos, whose names have been explicitly mentioned in a lawsuit filed by former Dolphins head coach and current Steelers senior defense assistant Brian Flores, which states that racist hiring practices are part of many NFL teams.

According to the complaint:

Indeed, in 2019, Mr. Flores was to have an interview with the Denver Broncos. However, the then Broncos CEO John Elway, the president և CEO Joe Ellis և and others came to the interview an hour late. They looked quite confused, էր it was obvious that they had been drinking heavily the night before. It was clear from the nature of the interview that Mr Flores had been interviewed solely because of Rooney’s rule, that the Broncos had never intended to consider him a legitimate candidate. work. Shortly afterwards, white Vic Fangio was hired by the Broncons’ head coach.

The NFL insists that teams adhere to Rooney’s rule, which requires that at least two women or people of color be interviewed for key openings in good faith, despite numerous anecdotal evidence to the contrary. The league also acknowledges the homogeneity of its ownership group and lends its lips to the idea of ​​diversifying it.

But given the NFL’s strict rules on team ownership. The majority owner must have at least 30% of the team, և the privilege debt limit can not exceed $ 1 billion, it will take deliberate steps to make team ownership available to other people. The most privileged class in the country – multibillionaires, most often the largest, white males. And Walton was lucky enough to have his wife’s cousin, another very wealthy white man in the NFL, behind the scenes defending him.

Instead of prioritizing different property groups, the Broncos seem to be leaning towards the status quo by selling one old, white, male billionaire. From Woody Page Bulletin.

Sources say that Walton is the favorite because (A) he can surpass Harris և colleagues (B) he has such a close relationship with Cronke, (C) he has a house in Aspen (except for his three mansions in Scottsdale, Ariz., (D) he has a son և the Boulder family (E) և will probably build a new stadium in Denver for Kroenke’s rival in Los Angeles.

Note that zero refers to the inclusion of different ownership group or equity առաջն priority. It just sums up how unexpectedly rich Walton is, how easy it will be to pay him $ 1 billion for a new stadium that Denver does not need at the moment, it is safe to say that taxpayers will pay the rest. .

“In a free market, a democratic free society can behave differently. The NFL could be one of the places where this model is fully demonstrated,” a source close to the Broncos bidding process told the SB Nation. And this is not what happens behind the scenes.

“Again, I think Rob Walton and Walmart are almost the opposite of what they should have been,” said the source. “And I think that’s really it [the NFL] should be taken into account. And more importantly, it’s like, hey, whatever you do, run a fair, inclusive, transparent process. ”

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