DENVER — Formula One race car driver Lewis Hamilton is now a part owner of the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos announced Tuesday that Hamilton, a seven-time Formula One world champion, will be part of the new Walton-Penner family ownership group.
He was appointed knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II last year, thus it's Sir Lewis Hamilton. One of his homes is a mansion in the Colorado mountains, where the families of the Waltons and Penners -- the lead partners in the Broncos' new ownership group -- also have mountain homes.
"We're delighted to welcome Seven-Time Formula One World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton to our ownership group," said a statement from the Walton-Penner family ownership group.
"He 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. With over 100 race wins, Lewis is considered the most successful F1 driver of all time. His resilience and standard of excellence will be an asset to the ownership group and the Broncos organization."
"Excited to join an incredible group of owners and become a part of the Broncos story!!" Hamilton tweeted. "Honoured to work with a world class team and serve as an example of the value of more diverse leadership across all sports."
Rob Walton and the Penners took another step towards becoming the next Broncos owners last Wednesday when the NFL Finance Committee formally recommended their $4.65 billion purchase for NFL owners approval.
The committee will make a report to all 32 clubs at a special league meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9, during with the 32 NFL owners will vote.
Besides the great combined wealth of Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner and son-in-law Greg Penner, the Broncos’ new ownership group also includes Mellody Hobson and Condoleezza Rice. Hobson, Rice and Hamilton give the Broncos three Black investors and one of the most diverse ownership groups in all of sports.
At his state of the game Super Bowl press conference in February, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell strongly urged greater diversity among team ownership, including controlling owners, going forward.
“We would love to see a diverse owner of the team, whether that’s a person of color, a female, or a Black man,'' Goodell said. "We think that would be a really positive step for us and something we’ve encouraged and one of the reasons why we’ve reached out to find candidates.
“We’ll be very clear and we have been already with the Broncos that (diversity) is something we certainly seek to have in the ownership group and we’ll certainly try to encourage that as the process goes along.”
While Hobson, Rice and Hamilton are all expected to be limited partners, it can be argued the Broncos have taken a significant step in the direction toward greater diversity of ownership.
Rice, 67, who served as President George W. Bush's secretary of state from 2005-2009, joined the Broncos' new ownership group on July 11.
Hobson, 53, is chairwoman of Starbucks and co-CEO of Ariel Investments. She is also married to Star Wars creator George Lucas.
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