Robert F. Smith emerges as potential bidder for Broncos

NFL: OCT 21 Broncos at Browns
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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, 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.

14 responses to “Robert F. Smith emerges as potential bidder for Broncos

  1. “The explosion of revenue from legalized gambling makes all teams worth more and more money.” With more and more gambling involved, what could possibly go wrong?

  2. I own part of the team….a very cool 70s pennant and a throwback helmet. Don’t need anymore ownership.

  3. Please explain how legalized gambling adds value to a sports franchise. I get the symbiosis but I’m not sure I get the added value.

  4. The new owner’s first move should be to get Elway as far away from the front office as possible.

  5. “explosion of revenue from legalized gambling makes all teams worth more and more money”

    Um, proof? Legalized gambling has been around for over three years – how are NFL teams (ie not state gambling or private casinos) profitting and where is this “explosion of revenue” for the league? Because I’m not seeing it.

  6. The NFL is fast approaching elitist status from the owners, management and the players who are signing contracts no one ever dreamed possible.

  7. Good owners should win over money. I can’t imagine Jeff being a better owner than anyone whose life is and was football.

  8. The balance sheet, i.e. money, is what matters most? Really? OK, if that’s so, then you’ll be able to tell me who the richest man was in Europe in 1791. I frame the question that way because Mozart died in Vienna in 1791 and was buried in a pauper’s grave. Yet, through his work, he achieved immortality and will be remembered as long as music is played and enjoyed. So, would you rather be the richest person or achieve immortality, have a bunch of money and stuff or win a couple of Super Bowls? You can’t have both. Choose.

  9. Why even consider this guy? Fined $140M for hiding $200M in assets in offshore accounts in 2020. No prosecution because he turned in someone whose activity was more egregious. Why would the NFL owners want him in their club? Comparative
    justice – Clinton Portis gets 6 months in jail for defrauding the concussion settlement out of $100K. Smith might get to be an owner.

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