BronObit Pat Bowlen Football (web copy)

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen died June 13, 2019, just under two months before his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 75.

DENVER — The path has been cleared for the Broncos to be sold, after a Denver judge's ruling Tuesday.

Judge Shelley Gillman of Denver's Second District Court issued an order Tuesday between late owners Pat Bowlen and Edgar Kaiser over the right of first refusal, ruling that "the right of first refusal is no longer valid or enforceable in any respect." Kaiser, who bought the team in 1981 before selling it to late owner Pat Bowlen in 1984, had a clause in the original deal that granted Kaiser the right to match outside offers for the team if Bowlen were to sell it. This order, which ruled Kaiser's estate does not have the right of first refusal after he died in 2012, was the final hurdle for the team to put be put up for sale.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s order today terminating any right of first refusal." said Dan Reilly, who represents the Broncos from the Fennemore Attorney. "The Trustees will continue moving forward with the ownership transition process.” 

With the decision now made, the Broncos could have a new owner as soon as this summer. It's expected the team will have multiple bidders. According to The Gazette's Woody Paige, his sources indicate six candidates will bid, including former quarterbacks Peyton Manning and John Elway, who will be in two different ownership groups.

“We’re glad to put this issue behind us and move closer to transitioning ownership of the Denver Broncos," Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. "While our focus at this time is on our head coaching search, we plan to make an announcement regarding ownership shortly after that hire is completed.”

Since Bowlen's death in June 2019, the Broncos' ownership situation has only served as a distraction, with his seven children disagreeing on whether or not to sell the team. Bowlen's trustees were tasked with deciding which of his children should become the controlling owner and if all seven did not agree, the team was to be sold.

And that's where the Broncos are today, with many expecting the team to be sold in the coming months.

"I understand the frustration levels and when it comes to ownership," Ellis said. "We do need to resolve that, and it will get resolved. I do know that, but I need to lay out for you all a clearer timeline and lay out for Broncos Country a clearer timeline and understanding of what it all entails. I think I will be able to do that at some point here in the near future.”

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