Rob Walton adds seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain to the new Denver Broncos ownership group.
Hamilton, 37, who drives for the Mercedes team and whose 103 career wins are the most in F1 history, is the third limited partner brought on board by the Walton-Penner ownership group led by the heir to Walmart, Rob Walton, his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner.
“Excited to join an amazing group of owners and be a part of Broncos history!!” Hamilton tweeted. “Honored to work with a world-class team and serve as an example of the value of more diverse leadership across all sports.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell made minority ownership a point of attention in the league. Hamilton is black, as are the other two backers of the new ownership group, Starbucks board chair Mellody Hobson and former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
The Walton-Penner Group won the bidding for the Broncos with a bid of $4.65 billion. the highest price paid for a sports franchise in the world. NFL owners are meeting in Minneapolis next week to approve the sale. Once that happens, Walton, who has an estimated net worth of $60 billion, will become the richest owner in the league.
“We are delighted to welcome seven-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton to our ownership group,” Walton said in a statement. “He is a champion competitor who knows what it takes to lead a winning team and a strong 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,” added Walton. “His resilient spirit and level of excellence will be an asset to the Broncos ownership group and organization.”
Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson greeted his friend Hamilton on Twitter ahead of practice on Tuesday. Wilson and his wife, Ciara, were guests of Hamilton’s racing team at the Monaco Grand Prix this year.
The Pat Bowlen Trust has run the franchise for several years and the trustees put the club up for sale after the children of late owner Pat Bowlen could not agree on which of them would succeed their father.
Administrators wanted Brittany Bowlen, 32, to take over. She stepped down as vice president of team strategy following the winning bid from Walton-Penner ownership group.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
More AP Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports