Formula One Star Lewis Hamilton Added To Broncos' Ownership Group
By Jason Hall
August 2, 2022
"We're delighted to welcome seven-time Formula One world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton to our ownership group," Broncos owner-to-be Rob Walton said in a statement on behalf of the new ownership group obtained by NFL.com. "He is a champion competitor who knows what it takes to lead a winning team and a fierce advocate for global equality, including in his own sport. With over 100 race wins, Lewis is considered the most successful F1 driver of all time. His resilient spirit and standard of excellence will be an asset to the ownership group and the Broncos organization."
Hamilton is one of only two drivers -- along with Michael Schumacher -- in Formula One's 70-year history to have ever won a record seven World Drivers' Championships, having won his first title during his second season at the age of 23.
The legendary British driver has also led charitable efforts off the track, which included the launch of his Mission 44 foundation to "support, champion and empower young people from underserved groups" to overcome societal barriers and is regarded as one of the most generous athletes in professional sports worldwide.
Last month, the Walton-Penner family ownership group added former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Rice served as Secretary of State under former President George W. Bush from 2005-2009 and later served as one of the 13 members of the inaugural College Football Playoff Committee, having held the position until the conclusion of the 2016 college football season.
Rice had also previously been rumored to be part of the Cleveland Browns' coaching search in 2018, which she has since publicly denied.
On June 7, the Broncos confirmed they'd entered a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner family ownership group in a statement shared by team president and CEO Joe Ellis.
"While this purchase and sale agreement is pending approval from the NFL's finance committee and league ownership, today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history," Ellis said via DenverBroncos.com.
The Walton-Penner group is led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, his daughter, Carrie, and his son-in-law, Greg Penner, and will also include "one or two" of his grandchildren, Mike Klis of KUSA-TV reported.
"We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos!" Rob Walton said on behalf of the Walton-Penner family ownership group via DenverBroncos.com. "Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans.
Additionally, Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson, a Black businesswoman who also serves as Chair of the Board of the Starbucks Corporation and as a director of JPMorgan Chase, will join the Broncos' new ownership group, Walton confirmed.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had previously encouraged the Broncos to sell to a diverse ownership group when Hollywood mogul Byron Allen was linked to the team in February and would have become the first Black majority owner in NFL history if he acquired at least 30% of the franchise.
"We are excited to announce that Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments, has agreed to join our ownership group," Walton said. "Beyond her role at Ariel, Mellody is an influential leader in corporate and civic organizations across the nation."
"Thank you to Joe Ellis and the staff of the Broncos for the first-class manner in which they have conducted this sale process," Walton added. "In addition, we thank Hogan Lovells for their guidance and support in this effort.
"We look forward to earning the confidence and support of the NFL as we take the next step in this process. When the necessary approval procedures are met, our family is excited to share more with Broncos fans, the organization and the community."