Net Worth: $145 million
Salary: $3,000,000 PER YEAR
How much money does John Elway make?
John Elway is a retired American football player with a $145 million net worth. He is currently the Denver Broncos’ general manager and president of football operations. Elway was a highly successful quarterback throughout his career, setting numerous records before retiring in 1999.
John earned a total of $47 million in salary during his NFL career. During his playing career, he earned tens of millions of dollars in endorsement fees. He has made and lost massive fortunes in outside business investments outside of professional sports. These transactions are discussed in greater detail later in this article.
On June 28th, 1960, John Elway and his twin sister were born in Port Angeles, Washington. John grew up with his twin sister and older sister, watching his father excel as a football coach. Because John’s father, Jack, was a football coach at the University of Montana and Washington State, the family moved around a lot.
As a high school quarterback, John Elway established himself as a “dual-threat” quarterback who could pass and run at the same time. Elway was also a talented baseball player during his high school years. Hundreds of colleges had sent him football scholarship offers by the time he was ready to graduate.
He eventually enrolled at Stanford University and rose to the position of starting quarterback. Despite the fact that his final game for Stanford was marred by a controversial play that cost the team the game, he compiled an impressive record that drew NFL interest. He continued to shine on the baseball field and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics.
The Baltimore Colts selected John Elway in the 1983 Draft, and he controversially convinced them to trade him right away. If he wasn’t traded, he threatened to play for the New York Yankees (Elway still had the ability to play professional baseball). He was eventually traded to the Denver Broncos, fulfilling his wish.
Elway struggled to establish himself as the team’s starting quarterback early in his career with the Broncos. When Steve DeBerg suffered a shoulder injury, Elway stepped in and led the team to the 1986 Superbowl. The Broncos returned to the Super Bowl in 1987, but were defeated for the second time. In 1989, they returned to the Superbowl, but were defeated in a humiliating defeat. Elway was still very young at this point in his career, and some questioned whether he would ever win the Super Bowl.
Over the next few years, however, he gained valuable experience and confidence. He led his team back to the Superbowl in 1997 and finally got the victory he had hoped for. Elway’s performance once again fell short of expectations – but that didn’t matter. The Broncos had triumphed. Elway had one of his best seasons the following year, winning the Superbowl for the second time. In his final game, he received MVP honours.
Under the name John Elway Autos, John Elway established five car dealerships. The dealerships in Denver were sold to AutoNation for $82.5 million in 1997. Elway’s name could also be used as a marketing tool by AutoNation until 2006. Elway was able to re-enter the auto dealership industry under his own name after the deal expired in 2006.
John opened two Toyota Scion dealerships in California, a Chevrolet dealership in Colorado, a Chrysler Jeep dealership in Colorado, and a Cadillac franchise under the Sonic Automotive brand name in the years that followed.
Broncos Ownership Prospects
John Elway had the chance to buy a piece of the Denver Broncos franchise that would have turned out to be extremely profitable. As John’s career came to an end in the late 1990s, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen offered to sell Elway a 10% stake in the team for $15 million. Elway would also have had the option to get a further 10% if he walked away from the $21 million in salary he was owed at the time. He would have also served as Bowlen’s special assistant and the Broncos’ COO (which would of course come with a salary of its own).
In other words, John would own 20% of the Broncos if he put in $15 million of his own money and gave up $21 million in future earnings. That’s roughly $36 million for a 20 percent stake in an NFL team. Pat Bowlen valued the Broncos at $180 million using those figures.
Elway was even able to resell his stake with a $5 million markup and an annual interest rate of 8% since the purchase. Finally, if the Bowlen family decides to sell the entire franchise, Elway will get first dibs. The deal was not pursued by Elway.
This proved to be a disastrous decision. The Broncos are currently valued at $3 billion. Elway’s 20 percent stake would be worth $600 million today if he had gotten it.
Years later, many observers were perplexed as to why John never wrote anything down. These observers have also pointed out that Elway had the $15 million on hand – in fact, a year before Pat Bowlen proposed the deal, he sold a number of car dealerships for over $80 million. Elway defended himself by saying he didn’t agree to the deal because he didn’t see a role for himself in the Broncos’ executive ranks.
Other Ridiculous Investments
Over the years, John Elway has made a number of poor investments. One of the most notable was his decision to invest $15 million in a Ponzi scheme (the same amount he could have put into a 10% Broncos stake). He ended up losing $7 million before being able to recover $6 million.
He put a lot of money into a new company called Laundromax in 1998, but it didn’t take off. In the same year, he spent $500,000 on over 130,000 shares of QuePasa, a Latin-language media company. Elway’s stock had fallen from $27 to $1 by the year 2000, resulting in a massive loss. Elway put millions of dollars into a website called MVP.com in 1999, but it was quickly shut down. He also co-owned the Colorado Crush, an Arena Football League team that went bankrupt after the league was shut down.