By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4) -There’s now chatter about the chances of new Broncos ownership, following the ending of a dispute between two of Pat Bowlen’s daughters and the trustees currently running the team. The lawsuit heading to trial is effectively over with a motion filed by both parties.

(credit: CBS)

Immediately, speculation started about whether there’s a chance the Broncos could be sold. Then more speculation about who might buy the team.

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Fans have preferences.

“Definitely Peyton Manning. Definitely Peyton,” said sports fans Avery Turner and Aiden Sims as they emerged from the Rockies game at Coors Field. “Elway,” said fan Mark Jones. “He’s got money. There’s backing. People like him.”

“I think Beth and Amy, the original children of Pat Bowlen deserve to own that team,” said Mick Juarez. “They care a lot of about people. They care about the organization. They care about keeping the brand.”

They may all get their way … or none of them.

The cost of the Broncos is likely well into the billion range. Forbes most recent ranking of the value of NFL teams put the Broncos at 11th, with a value of $3.2 billion.

“What I think is that it’ll be an investment group. And then make him the face of the investment group,” said Jones of John Elway.



“Years ago we heard of Peyton Manning, and John Elway still comes to the surface. But again it’s hard to say if those guys are still in play,” said sports marketer Dan Price of Adrenalin Sports Marketing. The reality is with that kind of cost, the buyers will be in a league of their own. “I think that you have a smaller group of people that can afford the teams, and the minute you’re starting to reach out to people that are in the billion club versus the million club, it may not even be people that you know.”

NFL owners are an old boys club. The league prohibits publicly traded companies from ownership, aside from the special deal the Green Bay Packers got for public ownership.

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Controlling owners must have nearly a third of the share of the team. But there are many partnerships. America’s rich is a changing set.

“It’s a whole new group of people. It’s young kids that have billions of dollars. Do you want this guy in your club, but he’s the only guy that can afford a team?” said Price.

Teams are also now part of portfolios. The teams generate revenues, the stadiums, the real estate holdings around stadiums, sponsorships are showing up on everything and rising. The league is also starting what could be worldwide expansion with games in Europe.

“They want to own the training facilities … There’s money to be made in real estate, there’s money to be made off the broadcast.” The cost may be high, but potential greater.

(credit: CBS)

What fans don’t want to think about is a move. Any owner who dared to consider a move from Denver would certainly be demonized.

“He wants the fan base, he wants to do what’s right by the fan base, but there’s a fine line between what makes this a good investment versus what makes this a great investment. And sometimes moving is the only way to make that change.”

Moving is often talked about as NFL teams seek better deals, but not done as often. Two small market teams that sold over the past 10 years in Jacksonville and Buffalo have stayed put.

Moving from Buffalo to Toronto was widely feared for locals in upstate New York.

“I don’t think anybody’s safe from being moved. If you’ve got the money and the appetite to purchase a team, you’re most likely going to take that team and move it to where it makes the most sense.” But a team in growing and sports-mad Denver makes sense. It would not be easy to ship the Broncos anywhere.

As for a list of potential candidates for ownership, Price didn’t care to speculate. “I think that owners could pop up out of the woodwork that we never expected, never even heard of.”

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UPDATE: Lawsuit Surrounding Pat Bowlen’s Trust & Will Dismissed

Alan Gionet