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Lewis Hamilton takes ownership share in NFL’s Denver Broncos

Lewis Hamilton takes ownership share in NFL’s Denver Broncos

  • Walton-Penner group agreed record deal for club last month
  • ‘Lewis’s resilient spirit and excellence will be an assset to club’

The seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has joined the ownership group of the National Football League’s Denver Broncos, the team announced on Tuesday.

Rob Walton announced the addition of Hamilton as a limited shareholder in a statement issued on behalf of the Walton-Penner family ownership group.

“[Hamilton] is a champion competitor who knows what it takes to lead a winning team and a fierce advocate for global equality, including in his own sport,” Walton said in a statement.

“With over 100 race wins, Lewis is considered the most successful F1 driver of all time. His resilient spirit and standard of excellence will be an asset to the ownership group and the Broncos organisation.”

The Walton-Penner group agreed to buy the team from the Patrick D Bowlen Trust last month for a reported £3.81bn ($4.65bn) in the most expensive deal for a sports franchise in the world, eclipsing the £2.5bn ($3.1bn) sale of Chelsea to an American-led consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly this year.

In April, Hamilton and the tennis star Serena Williams joined a consortium led by the former British Airways chairman Martin Broughton to buy Chelsea that was among the final three bids to be shortlisted. But it was ruled out after its dependence on a £500m ($611m) loan from three US banks was revealed.

The Broncos’ star quarter-back Russell Wilson celebrated Hamilton’s addition to the team’s ownership before practice on Tuesday morning. Wilson and his wife, Ciara, were guests of Hamilton’s Mercedes race team at the Monaco Grand Prix this year.

Hamilton, whose 103 grand prix wins are the most in F1 history, becomes the third known limited shareholder to join the ownership group of the three-time Super Bowl champions after Condoleezza Rice, who served as US secretary of state under George W Bush from 2005 through 2009, and the Ariel Investments co-chief executive and Starbucks chair Mellody Hobson.

The Broncos’ ownership group is fronted by Walton and includes his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner. Walton, 77, was chairman of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, from 1992 until 2015, when he retired. He is the eldest son of founder Sam Walton and Helen Walton and has an estimated net worth of nearly £49bn ($60bn).

The NFL is expected to fully approve the purchase agreement to the Walton-Penner group at a league meeting next Tuesday in Minneapolis, the final step after it received approval from the league’s finance committee last week.

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