The 2022 NFL offseason has been a wild one. Fortunately for all of us football fans, there appears to be plenty of drama left in this calendar year. The 2022 NFL draft is next week, and every team has a shot at drafting new franchise players. However, for a handful of teams, this year could result in much broader changes as well.
It is rare that we see an NFL team put up for sale. Oftentimes, new owners only come to town after a death or a scandal. This year, we have seen plenty of both. As a result, there are at least four teams that could have new owners by the end of 2022.
Celebrities have long been involved in the NFL. From super fans to team ambassadors, the league has done its best to remain close to pop culture icons. There is no better way to get celebrities involved than by having them purchase an NFL team.
How Do You Buy an NFL Team?
Unlike other businesses, you cannot just buy an NFL team. Instead, there are certain requirements that an owner, or ownership group, must meet. Many people have claimed that the current requirements to buy a team make it harder for minorities to become owners. In the 102-year history of the NFL, there has never been a Black majority team owner.
Whether the requirements are a result of institutionalized racism is not our place to judge. However, I think we can all agree that the requirements are cumbersome. First and foremost, the NFL requires the majority owner to hold at least a 30% equity stake in the team. That means that a prospective owner must be prepared to pay 30% of the agreed-upon sale price.
Also, they limit the number of members allowed in an ownership group. Currently, the league caps ownership groups at 24 people. The NFL has a cap in place on the amount of debt that can be used to purchase a team. Recently, the maximum debt was increased from $500 million to $1 billion.
One of the biggest factors that can derail any new owner is that the current owners must approve the purchase. As a result, many new owners are only approved because they have existing relationships with the current owners. This is one of the many issues cited by critics of the NFL ownership system.
David Tepper purchased the Carolina Panthers in 2018. However, Tepper had previously held a 5% stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tepper’s previous involvement meant that he did not have to go through the normal vetting process.
Which NFL Teams Could Be Sold?
In theory, any team could be put up for sale. Realistically though, owners are not going to part with a team unless they have to. As I stated above, it is rare that an NFL team even becomes available for purchase. However, due to a string of bad luck among the owners, there are four teams that could be sold soon.
The Denver Broncos getting a new owner is a matter of “when” not “if”. Denver’s previous owner, Pat Bowlen, unfortunately passed away in 2019. Since then, the team has been in the market for a new owner. The franchise should be more valuable than ever now that Russell Wilson is in town.
Bowlen first purchased a majority stake in the team in 1984 for $70 million. After purchasing the team, Bowlen also served as the CEO until 2014. During his time as the owner of the team, Denver went to seven Super Bowls. Bowlen also owned other local teams including the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team and the Colorado Crush AFL team.
After Bowlen passed away, ownership of the team was moved into a trust. Now, nearly three years later, the Broncos appear to be closing in on a new owner. It was announced earlier this week that the list of potential buyers has been narrowed down to five.
Two of the accepted bids are from anonymous buyers, so the door is still open for a surprise new owner. However, only one of the known bidders would not be using an investment group to buy the team.
Rumors have been swirling for years around who will buy the team. As a result, there are plenty of betting odds around who will buy the Denver Broncos. We will dive into all the betting odds later on. For now, let’s look at some of the other teams that could be sold this year.
One of the ugliest situations in the NFL in years has been the Washington Commanders. In the last five years, Washington has had three different team names, two sexual misconduct investigations, and fraud accusations.
Allow of the issues surrounding the Commanders, including the horrible new team name, can be traced back to the owner. Daniel Snyder purchased the team in 1999. In the 23 years since, one of the league’s most storied franchises has, to put it mildly, gone downhill. Washington is 156-212-1 since Snyder purchased the team.
Aside from the failings on the field, Snyder has also been blamed for all of Washington’s other problems. In 2021, the NFL fined Snyder $10 million for creating a toxic workplace culture. Since then, investigations have also been launched into further claims of workplace misconduct. Snyder agreed to not be involved in the day-to-day team operations as a result of the investigation.
Bad ownership and sexual misconduct are one thing, but it was not likely to cost Snyder the team. That was until reports surfaced that Washington had been keeping two sets of books. If there is one thing the other owners will not tolerate its theft. NFL owners really hate it when it is their money that is being stolen.
With so many investigations going on at once, it may be a while before a new owner takes over the Commanders. Still, I think it is likely that Snyder is forced out at some point. It may not be in 2022 but keep an eye out for betting odds in 2023 and beyond.
One of the biggest stories of this offseason was the lawsuit filed by former Dolphins HC Brian Flores. As part of the lawsuit, Flores claims that Miami Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him to lose games. With the NFL heavily involved in sports betting, these accusations could cost Ross the team if they are true.
Ross purchased a 50% stake in the team back in 2008. Since then, he has acquired even more ownership and currently owns 95% of the Dolphins franchise. Since then, Ross has brought in many celebrities as minority owners of the team. Recent reports have also suggested that Tom Brady planned to become a minority team owner after his brief retirement.
NFL seeks to move former Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit to arbitration https://t.co/iK1dP9PPqs
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) April 21, 2022
The Dolphins’ situation is another one that could extend past this calendar year. It was recently announced that the NFL is moving Flores’ lawsuit into arbitration. Still, if Flores can prove that Ross was trying to tank, he could be forced to sell the team. This is another situation to keep an eye on as it develops.
Since Flores filed his lawsuit, more former coaches have come forward with accusations of misconduct. One such coach was former Cleveland HC Hue Jackson. According to Jackson, he was encouraged by the Browns’ organization to lose games.
Whether he was ordered to or not, Jackson definitely lost games as the Browns’ HC. The team went 3-36-1 with Jackson at the helm. The NFL recently announced that it will be investigating the Browns for potential tanking. If convicted, team owner Jimmy Haslam would likely be forced out of his position. According to reports, the investigation is expected to end quickly.
Celebrities That Own Sports Teams
Part of the reason people like to speculate about celebrities by sports teams is that it is fun. Also, recent history suggests that it is a possibility. In the last two decades, plenty of celebrities have invested in their favorite sports franchises.
One of the most famous examples of this is NBA Legend Michael Jordan. After retiring for the third and final time, the GOAT bought the second-largest stake in the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan has managed the basketball operations of the NBA team ever since.
More on that speculation of Dolphins seeking Tom Brady as a player/owner: The NFL says for an active player to also have an ownership stake in the same team, it would have to be approved by 24 of 32 teams to be allowed. https://t.co/RluTx8aeUF
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 21, 2022
Other examples of celebrities buying sports teams include Bill Maher buying a minority stake in the New York Mets. Maher’s initial investment in the MLB team has since tripled in value. As we mentioned before, multiple celebrities have purchased minority shares in the Miami Dolphins. Jennifer Lopez, Fergie, and Gloria Estefan among others all purchased 1% shares.
Along the same lines as team ownership, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson purchased the entire XFL league. Since then, the celebrity icon has signed a deal with the NFL to turn the XFL into a developmental league. However, the XFL has yet to resume play. The league is scheduled to start again in 2023 after stopping play in its return season in 2020.
Who Has the Best Odds to Buy the Denver Broncos?
Anonymous Bidder (-150)
Rob Walton (+275)
Todd Boehly Group (+325)
Josh Harris Group (+375)
When ownership of an NFL team does change hands, there will be plenty of money involved. Thanks to our recommended sportsbooks, you can make sure you win real money too. The Broncos announced that their search for a new owner is down to five bidders. Since the announcement, the oddsmakers at BetOnline have released odds on all the potential new owners.
Two of the bidders are remaining anonymous for now. However, before we break down who those prospective buyers might be, let’s take a look at the three named bidders.
Rob Walton (+275)
Of the three known bidders, Rob Walton (+275) is the favorite according to BetOnline and many other NFL betting sites. Walton is the heir to the Walmart fortune and has a net worth north of $60 billion. It has been reported that Walton submitted an opening bid of $4 billion to buy the team.
Walton is one of the 20 richest people in the world. Other than having a large bankroll, there is another reason to favor Walton here. The chairman of Walmart is related to LA Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke through marriage. Having a connection already in the NFL would help Walton be approved by the other owners.
Rob Walton, former chairman of Walmart and eldest son of company founder Sam Walton, has his eyes on the Denver #Broncos. He’s one of five bidders trying to buy the team, and stands out with his net worth of $70.6 billion. https://t.co/5A7O5bIYoP pic.twitter.com/YSOQOi7s7i
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 20, 2022
The Walmart Heir Is Likely Able to Outbid Any Other Prospective Buyers
However, it will be interesting to see if there is a price he is not willing to pay. NFL online sportsbooks do not have him listed as the favorite despite his extremely deep pockets. That may be due in part to the anonymity of two of the bidders.
Walton not being the favorite may be a blessing in disguise. It is hard to imagine anyone else being able to pay more than Walton. If the two anonymous bidders are revealed, Walton’s odds will likely shorten even more. As a result, now may be your last best chance to bet him at these odds.
Todd Boehly Group (+325)
Todd Boehly is an American investor that has his hand in the sporting world. To date, Boehly owns stakes in the LA Lakers, LA Sparks, LA Dodgers, and the Chelsea FC. He also owns part of the DraftKings Sportsbook company. Boehly has investments in several other sectors as well.
With a portfolio as varied as Boehly’s, it should come as no surprise that he has favorable odds here. Sports betting site BetOnline has the Todd Boehly Group listed at +325 to be the next owner of the Broncos. Boehly’s net worth is less than $6 billion, but he has teamed with other investors to bid on Denver.
Todd Boehly will have to outbid some financial heavyweights to buy the Broncos https://t.co/A8bKeACgl2 #9sports #BroncosCountry
— 9NEWS Sports Denver (@9NEWSSports) April 19, 2022
To purchase other teams, Boehly has partnered with the likes of “Magic” Johnson and Mark Walter. Perhaps the biggest selling point for Boehly is his experience with teams in other sports. The powers that be can rest assured that Boehly has experience owning multiple professional sports teams.
There have been reports about bidding parties discussing building a new stadium. In his other sports ventures, Boehly has not shied away from spending money. If he ultimately winds up the winner, it could mean a new stadium for the Broncos. Boehly has also been aggressive about making moves to win a championship. With Russ now in town, the Broncos should only be a few pieces away from a Super Bowl run.
Josh Harris Group (+375)
The final identified bidder is the Josh Harris Group (+375). Like Boehly, Harris has experience owning professional sports teams. The billionaire currently owns stakes in the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers among others. Purchasing the Broncos would not be his first venture into American football.
When David Tepper wanted to buy the Panthers in 2020, he had to get rid of shares of the Steelers. Tepper’s 5% was purchased by the Harris and Blitzer Sports & Entertainment Group. Harris could receive similar advantages that Tepper did since he has already owned part of a team.
Josh Harris is another billionaire bidder for the Broncos. Meet him here.https://t.co/QAsEzjZpVm
— @denverwestword (@DenverWestword) April 20, 2022
Harris may not have as extensive of a sports portfolio as Boehly, but he does have a higher net worth. A smaller group of investors may be more attractive to the team and other owners. Harris is business partners with Michael Rubin. Rubin’s Fanatics is one of the largest officially licensed sports retailers in the world.
Despite having the longest odds, Harris could be a value bet here. Having previously purchased a 5% stake in an NFL team would expedite the group’s vetting process. Also, Harris’ connections to other sports related companies, like Fanatics, could be a selling point. As long there is no bidding war, Harris’ group has a real shot of pulling off the upset.
Anonymous Bidder (-150)
Finally, we have the anonymous bidders (-150). There are two of them, and they could realistically be anyone with “billion” in their net worth. Even non-billionaires could have a shot with the right group of investors.
Former Broncos QBs Peyton Manning and John Elway were rumored to be forming separate investment groups. The Super Bowl winning QBs were not listed as part of the final five buyers. However, QB would likely be a welcome site for Denver fans if they become the new owner. Both Manning’s and Elway’s groups were listed at +2500 to buy the team a month ago.
Elway and Manning would certainly have the fans’ support. However, they are not the only well-known investors that could buy the team. In recent months, plenty of wealthy celebs have been linked to the team. Let’s take a closer look at three of the biggest celebrities that could buy the Broncos this year.
Kanye West is certainly a unique character. The musician has become a pop culture icon in the last decade. In addition to music, Kanye has made money from his fashion line and other investments. Recently, West has been named as a potential buyer of the Denver Broncos.
This may come as a surprise, but West was listed at +900 to buy the team last month. According to Ye himself, his net worth is around $10 billion. However, Forbes estimates the number to be under $2 billion.
Even if he had the full $10 billion that he claims to, West would likely still need an investment group. Spending half of your net worth on an NFL team seems like a bad idea. I have no doubt that Yeezy could pull together enough investors to get the funds if he needed to. However, there are other issues besides money that could keep Kanye out of the owners’ circle.
One of the biggest reasons West has been connected to the Broncos is because of WR Antonio Brown. The former All-Pro WR has used social media to campaign for West to buy the team. It appears Brown would even help with some of the capital. Unfortunately, Brown’s history of misbehaving could negatively affect Ye’s ability to actually be approved as an owner.
Ye’s bankroll may be in doubt, but Elon Musk’s is not. The richest man in the world recently offered to buy Twitter for $46.5 billion. Musk could buy the Broncos’ franchise for a tenth of that amount. He would also have plenty of funds to potentially build a new state-of-the-art stadium in Denver.
There have been concerns in recent years that a new owner may try to move the team. I do not think Musk would do that. He had a fairly public dispute over pandemic regulations at his Tesla buildings in California. Musk eventually moved the company’s HQ to Texas, but he has kept his word about keeping the factories open. Similarly, I think he would do right by the fans and keep the team in Denver.
Odds are not available on Musk as a potential bidder for Denver. However, if Musk has shown us one thing, it is that he is willing to quickly adapt to situations. The opportunity to secure an NFL franchise may be too good for the hundred billionaire to pass up.
The only person close to having Musk’s level of wealth is Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. According to some online NFL betting sites, Bezos was listed at +5000 to buy the Broncos last month. Bezos’ long odds are certainly not related to his ability to come up with the funds.
When news broke that the Broncos would be for sale, Bezos’ name was at the top of the list. However, the founder of Amazon reportedly shot down the idea. Still, I think he could be in play here. You do not get Bezos’ level of wealth by letting everyone know your plans.
With a net worth of almost $200 BILLION, he could buy every team in the #NFL
What team should @JeffBezos buy himself for his 58th Birthday? pic.twitter.com/ZAR54AZqvX
— Bovada (@BovadaOfficial) January 12, 2022
As an owner, Bezos would certainly have the money to make the Broncos a premier team once again. Bezos could easily afford to renovate or build a new stadium. He could also afford to pay top free agents to come to Denver. The NFL also recently partnered with Bezos’ Amazon streaming service for Thursday Night Football.
I believe the Bezos will own an NFL team in the near future. However, I am less confident that it will be the Broncos. With other franchises, such as the Commanders, potentially hitting the market in the coming years. There have been reports that Bezos is interested in buying the DC-based team. Seattle has also been floated as a potential asset for Bezos to scoop up if they get sold.
The 2022 NFL offseason has been full of surprising moves so far. The craziness will likely continue as we head into the NFL Draft. There could also be one or more teams sold this year. With a handful of teams facing the prospect of a new owner, the league could look radically different next year.
Some teams’ issues could extend beyond this year. However, one thing is for sure. When teams do become available, there will be plenty of potential buyers. Some of the most well-known celebrities could even get involved in the action. Betting at the best NFL online sportsbooks can help you win real money off the coming NFL changes. Let us know your thoughts about who should be the next NFL team owner in the comments below.
Shaun Stack, a native of the state of Kansas, has been a lifelong fan of all sports. Shaun has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh Bradford. He began writing for GamblingSites.org in 2021. …
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