Pat Bowlen directors get offers for the Broncos?
The Denver ownership feud has started to point to a Broncos sale, and potential bidders have let the directors currently in charge know that real deals are expected to materialize.
The three-person Pat Bowlen Trust has received offers for the franchise in recent months, reports Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic (subscription required). Although offers currently cannot be accepted, Kaplan adds that potential buyers have contacted the trustees to let them know that there would be considerable outside interest in acquiring the franchise. The Bowlen family have owned the Broncos since 1984, but recent events could lead to the franchise going up for sale.
After the lawsuit that sought to clarify and finalize Bowlen’s estate (including future Broncos ownership) was released this week, the future of the franchise is changing. Two of Pat Bowlenthe daughters of a previous marriage, Beth Bowlen Wallace and Friend Klemmer, filed a lawsuit challenging their father’s mental capacity to approve the trust. Pat Bowlen died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2019. Brittany Bowlen, the youngest daughter of the Hall of Fame owner, received support from the trust to one day take over leadership of the Broncos. League board members are said to be in favor of this route, and the 31-year-old Broncos employee has confirmed her interest in becoming the majority owner of the team as well. But several other Pat Bowlen heirs have challenged that plan.
The trial to settle this matter being indefinitely delayed may mean that a settlement has already been reached. Bowlen Wallace has said she and Klemmer will pull out of a lawsuit if the Broncos go on sale, so this week’s development would indicate that is in the cards. A sale may not be imminent, however.
There’s a good chance the NFL will step in and refer the Bowlen family’s feud to arbitration, where she resided before Klemmer and Bowlen Wallace’s trial, Kaplan adds. The NFL intervened recently in a Chargers property case. The widow of the deceased owner, Annabelle, also has Alzheimer’s disease. His death would lead to Pat’s seven children, from different marriages, to have equal control over the franchise. The trust dictates Bowlen’s children to sign an ownership plan, and the NFL requires franchises to have a single decision-maker for league-related matters.
If the Broncos become available, Kaplan notes that a decades-old deal could come into play. Previous owner Edgar kaiserPat Bowlen’s estate gave Kaiser the right of first refusal in case the team goes on sale again. It would complicate the auction this time around. The Panthers sold for $ 2.275 billion in 2018; the Broncos, according to Kaplan, would likely cost more than $ 3 billion.