Pat Bowlen was an American attorney who was also the majority owner, and Chief Executive Owner of the Denver Broncos of the National Football League. At the time of his death in 2019, Pat Bowlen had a net worth of $1 billion.
Early Life and Career
Pat Bowlen was born in 1944 in Prairie du Chein, Wisconsin. His father, Paul Bowlen, had become a millionaire in the Canadian oil business. Bowlen got his BA and JD from the University of Oklahoma. Though he had plenty of oil money in his family, Pat became wealthy on his own with a successful law practice in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Bowlen also worked as an executive for his father’s company, Regent Drilling and as a real estate developer.
Buying the Broncos
In 1984, as the Broncos faced bankruptcy under former owner Edgar Kaiser, Bowlen along with his brothers John and Bill and sister Marybeth purchased a majority stake in the NFL franchise for $78 million. One year later the rest of his family joined to purchase the entire franchise.
At the 1983 draft, future Broncos superstar John Elway was initially drafted as the #1 pick by the Baltimore Colts. Elway did not want to play for the Colts and even threatened to take up an offer to play baseball or the New York Mets over playing for the Colts. The Colts eventually relented and traded Elway to the Broncos in exchange for an offensive lineman named Chris Hinton.
Elway led the Broncos to five AFC championships in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1997 and 1998 as well as to two Super Bowl victories in 1998 and 1999. The Denver Broncos saw a resurgence in their fan base, began to turn a profit, and had the opportunity to do so because of Pat Bowlen.
John Elway Ownership Offer
In 1998, as Elway’s career was winding down, Bowlen approached the legendary quarterback with a two-part offer:
Part 1) Bowlen would sell John a 10% stake in the Broncos for $15 million.
Part 2) If John agreed to forgo his deferred salary, he would be given an additional 10% equity stake in the team. At the time John was owed $21 million in deferred salary. So in other words, if John chipped in $15 million of his own cash and gave up $21 million in future earnings, he would own 20% of the Broncos. John declined and opted for the money upfront instead. Tragically, he then invested around $15 million in what turned out to be a ponzi scheme, wiping out $7 million almost immediately. As of 2019, the Broncos are worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Had John taken the deal, today his 20% stake would be worth $540 million.
|Net Worth:||$1 Billion|
|Date of Birth:||Feb 18, 1944 – Jun 13, 2019 (75 years old)|
|Nationality:||United States of America|