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Mat and Justin Ishbia among bidders to buy Broncos, sources say

5/26/2022 1:54:00 PM
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There are players who star in the arena but struggle to find their way once their playing days are finished.

And there are players who aren’t stars but thrive outside the arena to become financially successful.

Meet Mat Ishbia, a reserve on Tom Izzo’s 1999-2000 national championship team at Michigan State who is now so big in the mortgage business he is among the bidders to buy the Denver Broncos, sources tell Mike Klis of 9 News reports.

Ishbia and his brother Justin are part of a group that have put together a strong enough financial proposal to catch the attention of those running the Broncos’ sale. The Ishbia brothers recently visited with Broncos executives and those involved with the team sale.

Sources tell 9 News that investment groups led by Rob Walton and Josh Harris have also toured the Broncos’ facilities and met with team executives in recent weeks. Another possible bidder, Todd Boehly, has been in London in recent weeks finalizing his $4.25 billion purchase of the Chelsea soccer team in the Premier League. It’s unclear whether Boehly is still a potential bidder for the Broncos. Media mogul Byron Allen is also in the mix to bid on the Broncos, a source tells 9 News, although he has yet to visit the team.

Walton and Harris have been considered the leaders to capture the winning bid on the Broncos, who are expected to sell for at least $4 billion and could approach $5 billion once the second-round of auction bids are made. Then again, with inflation hindering the overall economy, potential Broncos' investors may be taking a more conservative approach in the bidding process.

Besides the highest bid, the chosen owner candidate must also receive approval from the NFL’s finance committee and 75 percent of the league’s 32 owners.

A call for second-round bids could come within the next two weeks, according to a source. The Broncos and the three trustees of the Patrick D. Bowlen Trust – Joe Ellis, Rich Slivka and Mary Kelly -- announced Feb. 1 that the team was up for sale. Pat Bowlen bought the Broncos in 1984. He died in June 2019 from complications of Alzheimer's. 

A source said three weeks ago the Broncos’ bidding process started with 10 investment groups that submitted first-round proposals, after which the field was narrowed to five groups.

Because the Broncos’ sale is through the Bowlen trust, it has fiduciary responsibilities to the trust’s beneficiaries -- his seven children -- to get the highest price. Thus, the auction-like sale process.

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