The Denver Broncos has added former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to their ownership group. Led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, the Walton-Penner group agreed last month to buy the NFL team for $4.65 billion, pending NFL approval.
Walton will be the majority owner, while his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and his son-in-law, Greg Penner, will become minority owners. The Walton-Penner group said at the time that Mellody Hobson will be joining ownership. On July 11, the former U.S. Secretary of State, Rice, also officially joined the group, making her the second Black woman added to the ownership group.
“We’re pleased to welcome former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to our ownership group,” Rob Walton said in a statement. “A highly respected public servant, accomplished academic and corporate leader, Secretary Rice is well known as a passionate and knowledgeable football fan who has worked to make the sport stronger and better. She is the daughter of a football coach and served on the inaugural College Football Playoff Committee.
“She moved to Denver with her family when she was 12 years old and went on to attend the University of Denver for both college and graduate school. Her unique experience and extraordinary judgment will be a great benefit to our group and the Broncos organization.”
A political scientist and a diplomat, Rice was the first Black woman to serve as the United States Secretary of State and also started work as a professor of political science at Stanford University. In 2013, she was selected as one of the 13 members of the inaugural College Football Playoff Committee, serving through the end of the 2016 football season.
“It is an honor to be part of this ownership group,” Rice said in a statement Monday. “Football has been an integral part of my life since the moment it was introduced to me, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Broncos organization today. I spent much of my younger years in Denver, so to be able to combine my love of the game with my love for this great city and team is an adventure of a lifetime and a great opportunity.”
Rice and Hobson are now the first two Black women to own part of a team. In 2020, Starbucks appointed Hobson to head its Board, making her the only African-American woman to chair the board of a Fortune 500 company. The co-CEO of Ariel Investments, a global value-based asset management firm, previously served as Board chair of Estée Lauder Companies and DreamWorks Animation.
The Denver Broncos was put up for sale in February. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the time that the league wanted the team to sell to a diverse ownership group.