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Brittany Bowlen steps down from Broncos to clear way for new ownership

At the Denver Broncos' staff awards day in June, Brittany Bowlen thanked employees and wished the Walton-Penner group well.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In recent years, it was clear Brittany Bowlen was being groomed to succeed her late father Pat Bowlen as the Denver Broncos’ new controlling owner.

She was on her way to checking off every guideline her father had set forth in his trust. A bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame and Master’s from Duke. An internship at NBC Sports and two years of full-time employment, across four departments, for the NFL office in New York. Practical experience with the global management firm McKinsey and Company and the Broncos’ front office – most recently in the position of Senior Vice President of Strategy.

It wasn’t to be.

The Broncos were instead put up for sale with Walmart heir and former chairman Rob Walton submitting the winning bid of $4.65 billion. Given the team’s sale, last month Bowlen informed Broncos staff at the team’s annual service awards she has decided to step away from her position with the team, sources told 9NEWS.

Credit: AP
Brittany Bowlen leaves the field before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

According to sources, Bowlen told employees that the right thing to do for the organization and for her was to step down and clear the way for the new transition, out of respect for Rob Walton, Greg Penner and Carrie Walton Penner. She thanked the staff and wished the Walton and Penners well as the new owners.

According to sources, Bowlen received a standing ovation from the group of more than 200 Bronco staff members across business and football operations.

While Brittany’s cut comes out 11.14 percent of the sale price, there was a time when she preferred a different outcome. Besides following the guidelines set forth in her father’s trust, Brittany Bowlen publicly announced in October 2018 her desire to one day succeed her father as the Broncos’ primary owner.

Among her responsibilities discussed publicly in recent years were her work leading the Broncos through the COVID crisis as well as her involvement with business strategy, international expansion in Mexico, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) initiatives and community relations work.

The one guideline that couldn’t meet was sibling unity, and the team was announced as being for sale in February.

The purchase by the Walton-Penner family received unanimous recommendation Wednesday from the NFL Finance Committee, and it is expected to be formally approved in a vote Aug. 9 by NFL owners in Minnesota.

UPDATE: In light of this 9NEWS report, Brittany Bowlen released a statement confirming our story:

"I recently made the decision to step down from my position at the Broncos. During my time, I thoroughly enjoyed working in the team's front office and feel fortunate to have worked alongside such a talented and supportive group of people. I wish the Walton-Penner Family Ownership all the best as they embark on the next chapter of this organization's storied history."

RELATED: NFL finance committee approves Walton-Penner $4.65 billion purchase of Broncos

Credit: AP
Brittany Bowlen looks on before an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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