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NFL owners approve Broncos sale to Wal-Mart heir Walton

NFL club owners voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the sale of the Denver Broncos to Wal-Mart store heir Rob Walton and his family.

The final step in completing the record-shattering sale needed at least 24 of 32 votes from team owners.

Walton, his daughter Carrie Penner and son-in-law Greg Penner bought the Broncos from the Pat Bowlen Trust for $4.65 billion, the largest sale price for any North American sports team.

“We are grateful for the support and trust of the NFL and the 31 other teams,” Walton said in a statement for the ownership group. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Among those with a stake in the Broncos ownership are seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton of Britain and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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

The Broncos won their third Super Bowl crown in 2016 but have not made the playoffs since. They went 7-10 last year for a fifth consecutive losing season.

Walton said the new ownership was “deeply committed to fielding a great team to win Super Bowls” and planned to “draw on our individual strengths and those of the players, coaches and staff who have shaped the Broncos’ storied history.

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

Broncos president Joe Ellis, part of the organization for the past 27 seasons, said he will step down and serve as an advisor to ownership for the upcoming campaign.

“I’m confident the Walton-Penner family ownership group will add to the Broncos’ championship tradition,” Ellis said. “I’ve accepted their request to help in the transition however possible.”

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