The NFL team, which is controlled by the trust of late owner Pat Bowlen, has retained the New York-based boutique investment bank to handle a sale should the franchise hit the market, according to multiple people familiar with the decision. Sources also say the team has retained Proskauer Rose to handle the legal aspects of a potential sale. The expectation within the NFL is that an announcement starting that process could come as early as next week.
The Broncos will almost assuredly sell for a record price. Sportico recently valued the club at $3.8 billion; the previous record valuation for a sports team was set at $3.3 billion in 2019 when Joe Tsai bought the rest of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.
A representative for the Broncos didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment sent outside normal business hours. A representative for Allen & Co. declined to comment.
Allen & Co.’s sports business is led by managing director Steve Greenberg, who has handled a number of the biggest U.S. sports team transactions, including recent sales of the New York Mets (for $2.42 billion), and the Carolina Panthers ($2.28 billion). The Panthers are the only NFL team to trade in the last seven years.
A Broncos sale would cap a series of legal challenges and family infighting following Bowlen’s death in 2019. He passed away without declaring which of his seven children he preferred to replace him as the team’s primary decision-maker—a requirement under the NFL’s ownership rules.
Right now, each of Bowlen’s children owns about 11% of the team, with that equity held in the three-person trust. Pat’s brother, John, owns the rest in a single non-voting stake. The group recently removed two legal hurdles—one challenge to the terms of the trust, and another family’s claims to right of first refusal on a sale—which cleared the way for the team to be sold.
The Broncos interviewed at least four banks late last year, and CEO Joe Ellis, who is also a trustee, said an announcement on the ownership future would come “shortly after” the team hired a new coach. That position was filled on Thursday.