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NFL owners approve Walton-Penner group's purchase of Denver Broncos franchise

NFL owners on Tuesday voted to approve the Walton-Penner group's purchase of the Denver Broncos, NFL Network's James Palmer reported.

The vote, which required at least three-fourths (24) of the league's 32 owners, was the final step in the sale process of the Broncos franchise.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced during a Tuesday news conference that ownership voted unanimously in favor of the sale.

"We are grateful for the support and trust of the National Football League and the 31 other teams with today's vote," Rob Walton said in a statement Tuesday on behalf of the Walton-Penner ownership group. "We couldn't be more excited to join the Denver Broncos.

"It's a responsibility and privilege to serve as stewards of such an iconic franchise. We have tremendous respect for what Pat Bowlen has meant to the Broncos and look forward to building on this organization's championship legacy."

Walton continued: "While we're deeply committed to fielding a great team to win Super Bowls, our family and extraordinary partners are also dedicated to our off-the-field responsibilities to Broncos Country and the Rocky Mountain region.

"Operating with integrity and accountability, we aim to draw on our individual strengths and those of the players, coaches and staff who have shaped the Broncos' storied history. And to that end, we want to thank Joe Ellis for his guidance throughout this process and his willingness to serve as an advisor to ownership for this season.

"Across the entire organization, we will all continue to listen and learn.

"Most importantly, we will strive to make the Denver Broncos the best team to cheer for, play for and work for in all of sports. Go Broncos!"

The Walton-Penner family entered into a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the team on June 7. Palmer reported at the time that the group's winning bid was for $4.65 billion.

"I think they reinforced the importance of the Denver Broncos to that community, the importance to the NFL and the fact that they are enthusiastic about joining this group as well as owning the Broncos and being a part of the Denver community," Goodell told reporters of the Walton-Penner group's message to owners Tuesday. "I think they're going to be extraordinary owners and ownership that I think Pat Bowlen would be proud of."

Following Tuesday's vote, longtime Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis announced that he will step down from his executive position and will serve as an advisor to ownership for the 2022 season. Ellis has been part of the Broncos organization for the past 27 seasons.

"I am forever thankful to our dedicated staff, the players and coaches for making this franchise what it has become today -- one of the best organizations in all of sports," Ellis said in a statement. "Looking ahead, I am confident the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group will add to the Broncos' championship tradition on and off the field while putting their own stamp on this great organization. I was asked by them to serve as an advisor to ownership for this season, and I've accepted their request to help in the transition however possible."

Former Broncos owner Pat Bowlen purchased the team in 1984, and the franchise won three Super Bowls during his ownership. Bowlen ceded control of the team in July 2014 to Ellis when Bowlen acknowledged that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Bowlen died in 2019 and the Pat Bowlen Trust has assumed ownership since then. The trust announced in February that it had commenced the process of selling the club.

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