Crypto Enthusiasts Forming DAO to Buy Denver Broncos NFL Team

If the sale goes through, the Broncos would join the Green Bay Packers as the only teams in the 32-team NFL owned by cooperatives.

Feb 21, 2022 at 7:09 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 22, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. UTC

The U.S. National Football League’s (NFL) Denver Broncos team is for sale, and a DAO might be the next owner.

  • ESPN estimates the team would sell for $4 billion, which is what the DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) is aiming to raise.
  • The effort is being led by Sean O’Brien, a 10-year veteran of Cisco Systems’ legal department. O’Brien said the DAO will go live this week.
  • A decentralized autonomous organization is an organizatrion represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government.
  • According to O’Brien, the DAO would also incorporate as a cooperative, and participants in the DAO would have a parallel ownership share of the cooperative.
  • The team has been run by a trust since its owner, Pat Bowlen, died in 2017. The NFL has signaled that it would like a deal closed by the start of the 2022 season.
  • Wisconsin’s Green Bay Packers team is owned by a community cooperative, first incorporated in 1923 in a structure similar to what the DAO would use to purchase the Denver Broncos.
  • In 1980, the NFL put in new rules that banned a “decentralized,” community-driven ownership that the Green Bay Packers use (though the team has an exception via a grandfathering clause).
  • Rules state that ownership must be led by a single person that has at least 30% equity in the team, with minor exceptions for a family ownership structure. There is also a limit of 32 owners for one team, and sales need to be approved by the NFL.
  • In Canada, the Canadian Football League has two teams with a community ownership structure: the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
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