Walmart’s infamous slogan is “Save money, live better,” but company heir Rob Walton pulled out the cash with his record-breaking purchase of the Denver Broncos.
In August, the Broncos were officially sold to the Walton-Penner family for a record $4.65 billion. It made Walton the richest owner in the NFL with a net worth of $58 billion at the time.
That sales figure is easily the biggest to date. Here’s the list of the most expensive U.S. sports franchise sales to date:
1. Denver Broncos, $4.65 billion – 2022
Denver is a mile high above the rest on this list. As aforementioned, Walton’s purchase of the Broncos blew the lid off the previous record-high sales. The sale followed the trend of major acquisitions by Denver in 2022. During the offseason, the team acquired Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks in a blockbuster trade to be the new face of the franchise. Now the organization is hoping to be No. 1 in the standings this upcoming season.
2. Phoenix Suns/Mercury, $4 billion – 2023
Robert Sarver announced last year in September that he would sell his stake in the Phoenix Suns and Mercury following an investigation into the organizations’ workplace environment. Now, Mat Ishbia, the president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, has officially finalized the purchase of the two franchises for a whopping $4 billion, after the NBA’s board of governors approved his plan to purchase the controlling stake of those franchises from Sarver.
San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Mets, $2.4 billion – 2020
The Mets broke the record for the most expensive sale of any MLB team about two years ago. Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen completed the purchase from Fred Wilpon and family, who had previously owned the franchise for about 34 years.
4. Brooklyn Nets, $2.35 billion – 2019
Joseph Tsai owned 49% of the Nets until he struck a deal with then-majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov for full ownership, which reportedly cost him $2.35 billion. Tsai first bought a stake in the team in 2017.
5. Carolina Panthers, $2.275 billion – 2018
In the summer of 2018, the Panthers became the most expensive NFL team after hedge fund billionaire David Tepper purchased the franchise for just south of $2.3 billion. The sale was finalized on July 9, which came after Panthers founder Jerry Richardson was fined almost $3 million by the NFL for sexual and racial misconduct.
6. Houston Rockets, $2.2 billion – 2017
In September 2017, Leslie Alexander sold the Rockets to Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta for $2.2 billion. That was the most for an NBA team at the time, until the Nets topped the mark a few years later.
T-7. Los Angeles Dodgers, $2 billion – 2012
On March 27, 2012, Frank McCourt agreed to sell the Dodgers for $2 billion. Guggenheim Baseball Management, which included NBA star Magic Johnson, became the new owners of the franchise. It set the record for a while until multiple organizations started passing it up five years later, starting with the Rockets.
T-7. Los Angeles Clippers, $2 billion – 2014
Two years after the Dodgers went for $2 billion, a fellow Los Angeles franchise followed suit. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also bought the Clippers for $2 billion after the controversy involving Donald Sterling.
The following franchises cost over $1 billion to purchase: