So whilst we’re all busy eyeing the athletes that bring personality and life to the game, as well as their gigantic paycheques, few look behind-the-scenes to the heart of the sports money-making machine. Whether you’re checking out Ronaldo’s incredibly shredded physique or Tom Brady’s supermodel wife, the focus is usually on the players themselves, right?
And sure, while many of Premier League’s superstars are riding around in Lamborghinis or even the occasional Koenigsegg, you definitely need to peep the cars that the club owners are driving – heard of a Chiron, perhaps? Read on to learn about the players and people who make the teams so great, and those who actually run the sport. Some of them have some incredible stories and will one day leave behind a great legacy. From the NBA to the MLB, and to overseas sports leagues, we’ve got the best of the best covered.
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Owns: Charlotte Hornets (NBA)
There are few names more iconic than that of Michael Jordan. The NBA superstar is more than just a superstar – he’s a living legend. The pro basketballer rose to astronomical fame as the MVP of the Chicago Bulls before he hung up his Jordans in 2003.
It seems that basketball was going to be with Jordan for life though, when he purchased the majority share of the Charlotte Hornets for a cool $175 million back in 2010. The deal worked out well for Jordan because these days the Hornets are worth over $1 billion! Regardless of whether Jordan can run the club, there’s certainly a lot of star power in having an NBA all-star athlete as the face!
Net Worth: $4.3 billion
Owns: Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)
Private equity investor Joshua Harris once again proves to us that Wall Street has nothing on the private sector. The owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, Harris founded Apollo Global Management, one of the world’s largest alternative investment firms. The firm specializes in leveraged buyout transactions and purchases of distressed securities – situations like corporate restructuring and industry consolidations, and has offices strewn all over the globe.
Along with the 76ers, Harris owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, as well as being a shareholder of the Crystal Palace. Pretty cool huh! The alt-investment group Apollo was, in fact, the group which purchased the 76ers, taking it out of the hands of Comcast in 2011, for $287 million. It seems to have paid off because Forbes lists the Sixers’ franchise value up to $1.65 billion. Fun fact: Will and Jada Smith are investors in Apollo.
Net Worth: $20.4 billion
Owns: Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
The man who co-founded Microsoft, but doesn’t get as much airtime as Bill Gates, is next up on our list. Paul Allen was an extremely wealthy businessman, but also put time into his philanthropy. Sadly, he passed away in 2018 when his cancer came back and finally claimed his life. His family now shares in the $20.4 billion that he left behind.
Onto sport, Allen had a thing for sports clubs – he owned (and has since been passed to his family) Seattle FC and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. At one stage he also owned the NBA Trail Blazers! At the time of his death, he was within the top-fifty wealthiest people in the world.
Net Worth: $85 million
Owns: Nashville Kats
The renowned country music star is not only into his music: he’s into his sport too! The fifteen-album hard hitter has more awards under his Western-buckle belt than you can count. With a voice like his, it’s hardly unbelievable. Not to mention his awesome guitar-playing skills. And to top it off, McGraw also owns a stake in the Arena Football team, the Nashville Kats.
He’s a man’s man, splitting his time between music, family, and football – do you need anything else, really? But McGraw’s always had an interest in the NFL – did you know he and former NFL quarterback Brett Favre are good buddies, hosting charity events together?
Jeanie Marie Buss
Net Worth: $500 million
Owns: Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
Jeanie Marie Buss is one of the leading ladies in the sports world: not so much for her athleticism, but rather for the fact that she heads up one of the most well-loved and famous basketball teams in the world. The president of the LA Lakers, Buss is a bit of a badass, too – did you know she owns WOW? (Women of Wrestling).
But Jeanie’s ownership of the Los Angeles Lakers stems from her father’s family trust. Jerry Buss, businessman, investor, and chemist, was the majority owner of the team, during the team’s Showtime era in the 1980s. When her father passed in 2013, his 66% controlling stake was divided among his children, with Jeanie taking the reins and leading the business operations of the team.
Net Worth: $4.8 billion
Owns: Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United
The founder of every dad’s favorite store, Home Depot, Arthur Blank has certainly pulled in quite a few decent sized paychecks. Founding it alongside his investment banker buddy, Ken Langone, the pair embarked on creating a one-stop-shop for home projects.
Blank enjoyed presiding over the helm of the company for almost twenty years before retiring and sitting as co-chair. Starting up in the late 1970s, the pair made their fortune then, acquiring a net worth which allowed him to purchase the NFL team, the Atlanta Falcons.
Net Worth: $100 million
Owns: New York Mets
The sharp-tongued and witty Bill Maher has made his career as a social commentator and comedian. Known for the HBO political talk show 'Real Time with Bill Maher', the New-York born satirist is known for his somewhat caustic commentary. Starting out in showbiz in the late 1970s, he’s on our list because he owns a stake in the New York Mets.
Maher calls his investment “one of his all-time best decisions” – and we couldn’t agree more! We’d be pretty pleased with ourselves if we were worth $100 million, too.
Net Worth: $7.2 billion
Owns: Memphis Grizzlies
At 41 years old, many folks would be super happy just to be millionaires. Robert Pera, well, he’s totally eclipsed that – at 41 years of age he’s a billionaire. One of the world’s youngest billionaires, Pera’s claim to fame is his founding of the company Ubiquiti Networks. The global tech company was floated in 2011 when Pera opened it up to the public for an IPO.
Formerly an employee of Apple, he decided to split and start his own company. Seems it’s been mighty successful and a great business decision. He adds to his fortune the Memphis Grizzlies, after purchasing it from Michael Heisley back in 2012. Stay in school kids, and go work in Silicon Valley. Your bank account will thank you.
Net Worth: $140 million
Owns: St. Paul Saints
Bill Murray is not only one of our favorite actors, but he’s also a part-owner of the St. Paul Saints baseball team! The Illinois native rose to fame on 'Saturday Night Live', a show that earnt him his first Emmy! Venturing into acting, Murray hit the big-time, with roles in films such as 'Caddyshack', 'Ghostbusters', 'What About Bob?', 'Stripes' and many others.
Deciding he’d go for more serious roles, it was 'Lost in Translation' that won him a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. Peep Shawn Mendes’ clip for “Lost in Japan” if you want a fresh take on the whole movie in just three minutes. But yes, actor, sports-team owner and all-around legend just about sums up Bill Murray.
Net Worth: $ 7.2 billion
Owns: Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA is none other than Dan Gilbert. Yeah, you would’ve heard of him in the news due to the soap opera of a relationship he had with the iconic baller, LeBron James. While James now plays for the LA Lakers, at the time, the spat worked itself out, with LeBron returning to the team and settling the dispute.
In 2005, Gilbert acquired the majority share of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and since then, the team has enjoyed some success. In the years following his ownership, the Cavs have gone on to win 6 Central Division championships, 5 Eastern Conference championships, and one NBA title. Regardless, it seems that Gilbert’s doing a good job: happy fans, happy Dan.
Net Worth: $165 million
Owns: Seattle Sounders
Drew Carey just has one of those faces that is instantly recognizable – if you don’t immediately associate his face with comedy, then you’ve been living under a rock. The comedian and TV personality broadened his horizons and financial interests to include a sports team: the Seattle Sounders football team. We love the fact that Carey moved around a little first, growing up in Cleveland, before joining the Marines and then finally venturing into the business that was his true calling: stand-up comedy.
From running his own sitcom series on television, 'The Drew Carey Show' to the hilariously popular and iconic sketch show “Whose Line is it Anyway?”, Carey is a hard hitter in the improv comedy world. He’s still into hosting, as the host of CBS show, 'The Price is Right'.
Net Worth: $3.2 billion
Owns: New York Yankees
There isn’t a team more synonymous with New York than the New York Yankees. Harold Steinbrenner inherited the team with his brother Hank from their father, George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner senior passed in 2010, and with his death, the team went into the hands of his capable sons.
The University of Florida MBA graduate was already in place to take over the day-to-day control of the Yankees, alongside his brother, with his father George ceding the reins to Hal from 2007. Steinbrenner is also the Chairman and CEO of Steinbrenner Hotel Properties, which has contributed to his fortune. On the weekends, Hal’s piloting skills are made use of – he’s got a GTO single-engine and a Cessna high-wing which he takes out every now and again.
Net Worth: $400 million
Owns: Sacramento Kings
The big Shaq, Shaquille O’Neal is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have graced the stadiums of the NBA. Standing at over seven feet tall, it’s no wonder the guy’s got game. But O’Neal hung up his jersey and basketball shoes up a few years ago, retiring to become a TV host on TNT.
Accolades aplenty, Shaquille O’Neal’s talent is undeniable. What’s also undeniable is his love for the sport. Being selected for fifteen All-Star games and a number of MVP awards, he decided to invest in the Sacramento Kings, using his inside knowledge to place his bet. Fun fact: O’Neal’s jersey number was retired when he retired. Now, that's cool.
Net Worth: $6.9 billion
Owns: New England Patriots (NFL)
American businessman Robert Kraft is the chairman and executive of the Kraft Group. The company has assets in a number of businesses, including paper and packaging, sports and entertainment, real estate development, and a private equity portfolio. Oh, and he owns the New England Patriots.
Kraft has been holding season tickets since 1971 - now, that’s dedication! He purchased the team in 1994 for $172 million, which at the time, was the highest figure paid for an NFL team. Seriously though, $172 million is not that much, considering the team is now worth $3.7 billion. The thing we like about Kraft though, is that he also likes to give back – he’s donated over $100 million to philanthropy.
Net Worth: $1.6 billion
Owns: Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox
Owner of the Chicago Bulls, next up is Jerry Reinsdorf. Now, he didn’t amass his fortune from sport – rather, he went the old-fashioned route, starting his career in the business world as an IRS tax lawyer. But it was property and real estate which proved the most lucrative for Reinsdorf.
The secret? In the late 70s, Reinsdorf would sell properties and then lease it back, taking advantage of the tax deduction that resulted from the depreciation in value. This clever little maneuver saw Reinsdorf rake in a lot of money. As such, he was able to purchase the Bulls in 1985. He also owns the Chicago White Sox!
Net Worth: $4.1 billion
Owns: Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
One guy who’s got enough money to hire a manager and play with his kids is Henry Samueli. The Buffalo, New York-born Samueli is the owner of the professional hockey team, the Anaheim Ducks. Swapping out New York for the beachside haven of Newport Beach California, he’s now a name in Orange County as a philanthropist.
He owes his fortune to owning Broadcom, Inc., a communications company. The former UCLA engineering professor is also the inventor of more than seventy US patents, and he’s won the Marconi Prize for his innovative communication inventions. Smart, rich and he owns a sports team. And now he can sun himself in Cali. What a life.
Net Worth: $930 million
Owns: Brooklyn Nets
One of the wealthiest musicians in the world and one of the most influential on the hip-hop scene, next up is none other than Jay-Z. Despite his wealth from record production and scouting new artists, Jay-Z’s reputation is kind of built on the fact that he’s married to Queen Bey, Beyoncé Knowles.
A New York City native, Shawn Carter began rapping from a young age. Freestyles became mixtapes, mixtapes became albums and then the rest is history. Twenty-two Grammys are surely a testament to his talent! Anyway, Jay-Z owns the Brooklyn Nets, a relative newcomer to the NBA.
Net Worth: $1.5 billion
Owns: New York Knicks (NBA)
There aren't many teams with a name as memorable as the New York Knicks. The famous NBA team is owned by James Dolan, an American businessman who serves on the board as chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company.
As well as supervising the company, he also watches over the professional sports teams including the Knicks, Rangers and New York Liberty. So the guy owns one team but manages a few – and consequently, a lot of money passes through his hands every day.
Net Worth: $4.1 billion
Owns: Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
Mark Cuban is an American businessman and investor who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. He’s also the co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, and he’s the chairman of AXS TV. Fun fact: you’ll probably recognize him as being one of the main “shark” investors on Shark Tank!
But despite his investments in media, entertainment, and sports, he’s certainly no big-name celebrity in the ways of Hollywood. Regardless, he’s a celebrity in the sports-owner world, that’s for sure.
Art Rooney II
Net Worth: $1.2 billion
Owns: Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)
Now, the Rooneys have a history with sports. Generations, in fact. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been owned by the Rooneys for many years – and yet another Rooney is at the helm of the ship, bringing us to present day. After serving for decades on the board for the NFL team, the passing of Art Rooney II’s grandfather and then father meant it was his time to take over. The highly successful Pittsburgh Steelers saw Art take over in 2003, which he runs alongside his “side hustle.”
When we say "side hustle", it’s more along the lines of Rooney not wanting to disregard his law degree – he makes use of it providing counsel at the Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney law firm.
Net Worth: $4 billion
Owns: Houston Texans (NFL)
Mr. McNair really lives up to the adage of “everything’s bigger in Texas” – apparently that extends to the pay packets and wealth of some individuals hailing from the state. The businessman and philanthropist found his success after founding Cogen Tech, a cogeneration company. With some of the cash, he was able to invest in his beloved sports team, the NFL’s Houston Texans.
The University of South Carolina graduate sold Cogen to Enron in 1999, and also owned a number of power plants across America. His numerous investments and real estate and financial holdings have allowed him to amass a wealth of over $4 billion.
Net Worth: $100 million
Owns: San Francisco 49ers
It seems that the York family are somehow always going to have a link to the San Francisco 49ers NFL team. The son of Denise and John York, the Finance and History graduate had been working as a financial analyst in New York City before going into the family business. And what a business! The family owned the NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers, and brought him on board as the Director of Strategic Planning, before promoting him to VP of Strategic Planning.
He waited a little, and before he knew it he was CEO of the team. To be honest, it doesn’t go to a more deserving guy – especially a guy with as much love for the 49ers as Jed! Once he was in the news for claiming the 49ers would make the playoffs in 2010, despite being behind. But to the shock of many, he was almost right! Talk about faith!
John W. Henry
Net Worth: $2.7 billion
Owns: Boston Red Sox (MLB), Roush Fenway Racing (NASCAR)
So there’s a little bit of a story here with Henry’s interest in the Boston Red Sox. Initially, Henry entered Major League Baseball by buying a small interest in the Red Sox’s arch-nemesis – the New York Yankees. But that was back in 1991, and Henry jumped ship, venturing over to take over the famous Boston side. It seems that Henry might be even mildly, possibly, lucky, helping the Red Sox to break the “Curse of the Bambino” – in 2004, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, after a very long 86 years.
Since then, they’ve won another three championships! Aside from baseball, Henry’s got an interest in cars – in his first year of entering NASCAR as an owner, he got a win! And his racing team won the Daytona 500 just two years later. Yeah, he’s definitely lucky. Henry also owns 'The Boston Globe', and he was featured in the award-winning 'Moneyball' film. Not bad at all.
Net Worth: $700 million
Owns: Milwaukee Brewers
Mark Attanasio has quite the credentials when it comes to higher education. Born in the Bronx, the now-businessman and Milwaukee Brewers owner attended Brown, before moving on to acquire his Juris Doctor in 1982 from Columbia Law School. Who would’ve thought this bright spark would go on to own an MLB team?
Attanasio made his money in finance, in Los Angeles, where he also lives. The senior exec of Trust Co. of the West, as well as for Crescent Capital, Attanasio isn’t short of a buck. It seems that he made quite a fortune to purchase the MLB team for a cool $223 million. Looks like we’re all off to law school and then straight into finance!
Net Worth: $4.8 billion
Owns: Washington Nationals
The owner of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals is billionaire real estate developer Ted Lerner. Yes, another real-estate tycoon. It seems that owning property and owning sports teams go hand in hand. Lerner himself was raised in Washington D.C., so it makes sense that he’s invested in his local team. Lerner founded Lerner Enterprises, a real estate company that is the largest private landowner in D.C.
As well as the Washington Nationals, Lerner owns Chelsea Piers, which are located in the Big Apple. Fun fact: Lerner borrowed $250 from his wife Annette, and turned that into a billion-dollar money-making machine. Now that’s a great investment on Annette’s part, don't you think?
Net Worth: $12.1 billion
Owns: Chelsea Football Club
The Russian-Israeli oligarch and general boss man, Roman Abramovich was one of those people who was seemingly in the right place at the right time. The investor, businessman, and politician saw the time was right and made his fortune following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite humble origins, Abramovich climbed his way to the top, and now sits as one of the top 100 richest people in the world.
As well as owning the private investment company Millhouse LLC, he is best known outside of Russia as the owner of Premier League’s Chelsea F.C. Keeping the club alive has been funded by Abramovich’s investments in steel and nickel, as well as real estate. Purchasing Chelsea F.C. in 2003, the club has experienced some nice successes. With $12.1 billion to his name, it’s no wonder Abramovich owns some of the most expensive art in the world, as well as a 767 private jet and a couple of yachts. Just a couple. No big deal.
Net Worth: $4.4 billion
Owns: Baltimore Ravens
The Philadelphia-born Bisciotti founded Aerotek, a home health and medical staffing company based out of Columbia, Maryland, where Bisciotti now resides. He also cofounded Allegis Group, an international talent management firm. There’s a whole chain of businesses contained under Bisciotti’s umbrella, but we know you’re here for the sport.
Bisciotti owns the Baltimore Ravens, and his ownership of the team comes from a history of watching sports games and being interested in the NFL. He’s ranked in the Forbes 400, coming in at number 150, since we last checked!
Net Worth: $8.4 billion
Owns: Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
Born in Los Angeles, Jerry Jones is one of those untouchable billionaire businessmen. He’s also owned the Dallas Cowboys since 1989! Now that’s a long time with one team. After Jones graduated in 1965, he sought out a number of business ventures before he began oil and gas exploration in Arkansas. This proved very successful, and his privately held company is now moving into natural resource prospecting.
Anyway, he purchased the Cowboys for an easy $140 million, fired the long-time coach Tom Landry, fired the general manager and set off in a new direction. But it seems that it paid off – the Cowboys are worth roughly $4.2 billion now!
Net Worth: $400 million
Owns: Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar Racing Team
It seems that Letterman has the “Need for Speed” – why, you ask? Well, he owns Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (a part owner, as it were), which collectively owns a team that races in what was formerly known as the American Le Mans Series. Fast forward a few years and the tournament is now called the United SportsCar Championship.
The prolific TV host, who was once acknowledged as “king of late night” shows, still keeps his finger on the pulse – did you know he has a Netflix series where he interviews celebrities? He’s got his fingers in many pies, owning a production company, the show 'Everybody Loves Raymond', as well as part of the racing team!
Net Worth: $7.8 billion
Owns: Los Angeles Rams (NFL), Colorado Rapids (MLS), Arsenal F.C. (Premier League)
Any sports fan will know who Stan Kroenke is. The owner of teams in the NFL, MLS and Premier League, Kroenke is a bit of a mogul. With close to $8 billion to his name, Kroenke’s fortune has only increased with owning sports teams. His fortune came from a mixture of sporting interests, real estate and now he even owns a winery!
If you’re ever curious and a little thirsty, check out the Screaming Eagle winery. Now, they say money meets money to make more money – and this is certainly the case with Kroenke. Did you know he’s married to Ann Walton of the Walmart fortune? Yeah. Big bucks.
Net Worth: $350 million
Owns: LA KISS
The God of Thunder himself, Gene Simmons, is one of those iconic rockstars who just keeps on rockin’. “The Demon” and member of the glam-rock band KISS is just amazing. A musician, songwriter and cool guy, he’s known for his careless attitude and social commentary. While he can pack on the makeup and transform, he’s also a family guy, as seen on his reality TV show, 'Family Jewels'.
But Simmons has other endeavors, including owning a film company, Erebus Pictures, and owning the LA KISS, and Arena Football team based out of Florida.
Net Worth: $600 million
Owns: Miami Dolphins
So Jimmy Buffett is a bit of a household name – and not just for his singing abilities. The Gulf and Western singer has been around for a long time– since 1969, to be exact. But aside from his singing credentials, the crooner has another reason which contributes to his substantial net worth: owning shares in a sports team. The Miami Dolphins part-owner has a mid-sized shareholding in the team. Did you know Buffett wrote the theme song for the Dolphins?
But hey, we can’t really go past “Margaritaville” or “Come Monday” can we? Any “Parrotheads” out there will know that Buffett is now part of the Coral Reefer Band, and will also know that being part of the fanbase means walking on the wild side.
Net Worth: $2 billion
Owns: Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are pretty iconic. With their easily recognizable mascot and logo, they’re one of the best known in the NFL. Their owner is next up on our list, and it’s Clark Hunt, founder and major investor in the MLS (Major League Soccer). A sporting man through and through, Hunt chairs the Hunt Sports Group, which oversees the running of the soccer team, FC Dallas.
As to where his solid funding comes from? Well, his grandfather was H.L. Hunt, an oil tycoon who, at one stage, was one of the richest men in the United States. He, in fact, inherited the Chiefs – quite the inheritance! It seems that it actually went to a good guy, who has a keen interest in the sports team and its day-to-day runnings.
Net Worth: $13.1 billion
Owns: San Jose Sharks
The 75-year-old German billionaire Hasso Plattner is a renowned businessman, known for co-founding SAP SE software company. His commitment to economics and the sciences has also garnered him international recognition. As well as his tech pursuits, he has a keen sporting interest and owns the NFL team, the San Jose Sharks. He also dabbles in sailing and golfing.
Plattner has had strong connections with South Africa over the years, and not only spends a lot of time living there but also makes charitable donations frequently. He’s particularly supportive in the battle against AIDS as well as in promoting education, donating to Cape Town University and KwaZulu Natal University.
Net Worth: $500 million
Owns: The New York Mets (MLB)
It seems that real estate development and having a lot of money go hand in hand. The people with that sort of money aren’t just fans of a sports team, they own one. Now that’s when you know you’re in the big leagues. Literally. The soon-to-be 83-year-old businessman Fred Wilpon is one of these people. And he is the main shareholder of one of the most instantly recognizable sports teams in the world: the New York Mets.
Currently, his son Jeff serves as the team's COO – we have no doubt that Fred gets on down to the matches when he can though! But with great money and responsibility, there can be some illicit dealings – poor Wilpon got caught up in the now-legendary Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme in 2008, which saw a massive case of stock and securities fraud. It cost him a crazy $700 million, which impacted the Mets themselves.
Net Worth: $10.3 billion
Owns: Miami Dolphins
The owner of the Miami Dolphins NFL team clearly doesn’t like to share. We can only imagine the type of child he was in the sandbox. Why are we being so judgy? Well, Ross doesn’t just part own the Dolphins, he owns 95% of them! The wealthy real estate developer has a passion for the team, so when the time came around, he pounced.
Anyhow, the man behind The Related Companies, a global real estate firm founded in 1972, has decided that between the NFL and the Drone Racing League, sport is where he wants to invest his “fun” money. The University of Michigan graduate is very educated, holding both a J.D and LLM. Fun fact: he owns Hard Rock Stadium, and his company built the Time Warner Center.
Net Worth: $5.9 billion
Owns: Leicester City F.C.
Khun Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha is a Thai business tycoon, and yes, we’re glad we don’t have to pronounce his name and can just spell it out. The CEO of King Power company, the Bangkok-born billionaire was born into money and took over the family business when his father tragically passed in an unfortunate helicopter accident recently.
As well as inheriting the company and the $6 billion along with it, he also got his father’s stake in Leicester City F.C., as well as OH Leuven. The reason King Power is so huge is because it is a main retail group in Thailand, founded by Aiyawatt’s father. Fun fact: the retail tycoon is actually an ordained monk!
Net Worth: $5.1 billion
Owns: Orlando Magic
Michigan-born Richard Devos co-founded Amway. The now-owner of NBA’s Orlando Magic helped to start up the multi-level-marketing company, which sells an extensive range of health, beauty, and miscellaneous products. The company restructured in 2000 and took on a new branding identity, emerging as Alticor.
In the top 100 of the wealthiest in the United States, we’re sure his four kids are chuffed that they’ll always get courtside seats to matches at the NBA. They might even give influencer models like the Kardashians and the Hadids a wave!
Net Worth: $52.1 billion
Owns: L.A. Clippers (NBA)
Anyone who’s involved with a company like Microsoft is sure to be earning nicely. Let alone being at the helm of the ship, as the CEO of the IT corporation; and to be leading Microsoft for almost 15 years, you’d accrue a hefty sum along the way. One of the top 20 wealthiest people in the world, the Detroit-born Ballmer was actually a Stanford drop out. After some groundwork, he became the president of Microsoft after Gates stepped down. He was in fact, Gates’ choice to succeed him!
What with his multitude of investments, why not add a sports team to the mix? For Ballmer, $2 billion was a small-ish investment, and hey, for the L.A. Clippers, if you’ve got some spare change lying around, why not? It seems that the fans are enjoying Ballmer’s management and direction for the NBA team.
Net Worth: $11.1 billion
Owns: LA Lakers, LA Kings
American billionaire businessman Philip Anschutz turns 80 this December. And we’re sure it’s going to be a big celebration, given the fact he’s worth a whopping $11.1 billion as per Forbes’ ranking in April 2019. Earning his money in a variety of businesses, Anschutz has stakes in energy, railroads, real estate, sports, newspapers, movies, theaters, arenas, and music. Among his sports investments, he owns the LA Lakers and the LA Kings. You know, small investments.
His father owned Circle A, an oil drilling company, which was extremely successful in Wyoming. The profits he then invested in stocks, real estate, and railroads and became something of a business magnate. Fun fact: he owns the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival!
Net Worth: $2.4 billion
Owns: LA Chargers
Formerly the majority owner of the LA Chargers, the billionaire, who passed at age 95 in 2018, next up on our list is Alex Spanos. Born in 1923 in Stockton, California, the former billionaire’s family and estate control the well-known team today. Another real-estate mogul, his founding of A.G. Spanos Companies proved extremely successful, providing him with the capital to purchase the LA Chargers.
Spanos, who was in his early 60s at the time, purchased the team in 1984 – his 60% share saw him take the controlling interest, for a sweet $43.8 million. It seems pretty cheap to us, for a famous team, that is. Today, The Chargers are worth almost $2.2 billion!
Net Worth: $9.8 billion
Former Owner: Brooklyn Nets
The billionaire giant (standing at 6 ft 9 in.), Mikhail Prokhorov is a Russian businessman who, after working in the financial sector, went on to become one of Russia’s leading industrialists. His stakes in major multinational corporations in the precious metals sector have accrued him a serious fortune.
Born in Moscow in 1965, he ran Norilsk Nickel, which was the largest producer of palladium and nickel in the world. Playing leapfrog in a way, he used Interros to purchase Norilsk, with a share that’s worth over $7 billion. Fun fact: after he purchased the Nets, he vowed to get married if the Nets hadn’t won the NBA championship within five years. It didn’t really work out. In fact, he actually just recently sold the Nets to Joe Tsai of Ali Baba for $3.5 billion.
Net Worth: $1.1 billion
Owns: Pittsburgh Pirates
Robert Nutting is the sixth owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, joining a prestigiously short line-up of owners. Nicknamed “Bottom Line Bob”, Nutting’s moniker is owing to the fact that he has a tendency to put profit first, over product differentiation. Interesting strategy – but hey, with his net worth, something’s working!
Aside from owning the Pirates, Nutting is the CEO of media and communications company, Ogden Newspapers, Inc. In addition to being a media man and the tenth-richest team owner in all of MLB, he also owns the ski resort Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Half your luck!
Net Worth: $100 million
Owns: Los Angeles F.C.
The stellar comedian Will Ferrell is one who you either love or can’t stand – we’re part of the former camp. The Hollywood funnyman is also a bit of a sports enthusiast – he owns Los Angeles F.C! Pretty cool to think he started out on 'Saturday Night Live' and is now a mega-famous Hollywood movie star and comedian, and even owns his own football team. Not bad at all.
Even if you don’t like Will Ferrell, it’s undeniable that you would’ve heard of one of these film titles: 'Anchorman', 'Talladega Nights', 'The Other Guys', 'Step Brothers', 'Elf', and many more. So if you want to see the guy in the flesh, head to one of the games – as a co-owner he’s bound to turn up to a few!
Patrick Dennis Bowlen
Net Worth: $1 billion
Owns: Denver Broncos (NFL)
Pretty cool to search yourself on Google to find your net worth is a cool $1 billion. Sadly, that’s not the case for many of us, but for Patrick Dennis Bowlen, it is. The principal of the Denver Broncos, Bowlen has been CEO of the NFL team since he purchased it in 1984. That’s a lot of history and a lot of love for Denver! He’s the committed type, clearly.
Sadly in 2014, Bowlen’s run with the Broncos came to an end. After three decades of taking the team through championship wins, including two Super Bowls and two AFC titles, his health worsened and he was no longer fit to head the operations. But he certainly went out with a bang – in 2008, he sold shares to John Elway, which sparked dispute – but hey, it was all sorted in the end.
Net Worth: $52.9 billion
Owns: Mumbai Indians
Okay, this guy has to be the richest one on our list. Mukesh Ambani runs the $88 billion revenue oil and gas giant, Reliance Industries, which sits among India’s most valuable companies. Founded by Ambani’s late father, Dhirubhai Ambani, a yarn trader, in 1966, the company’s origins were initially in textiles. Nowadays, Ambani owns the cricket team, the Mumbai Indians.
Now Asia’s richest man, Ambani is one of those fabulous rags to riches stories, and boy is he living the high life. Did you know that Ambani lives in a 27-story building that was rumored to have cost $1 billion to build?! Incredible. Oh, and of course, it’s these types of billionaires who can afford a private Beyoncé concert for their child’s wedding.
Net Worth: $1.4 billion
Owns: Detroit Lions
The granddaughter of the founders of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Ford also has a penchant for sports teams. Well, maybe only because her husband had owned the Detroit Lions since 1963. The American businesswoman was born in Akron in 1925, making her 94 this year. The Vassar College attendee owns the NFL team, the Detroit Lions. She’s one of the wealthiest little old ladies ever, worth over $1 billion!
From 1947, Martha was married to William Clay Ford – and Ford was the youngest child of Edsel Ford and the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford! He passed away in 2014, leaving behind a fortune, including the Detroit Lions.
Net Worth: $ 2.2 billion
Owns: Washington Redskins (NFL)
Who’d have thought Dan Snyder would be the first to have a $100 million Superyacht with an Imax movie theatre onboard? Certainly not his college professors. The college dropout is the founder of Snyder Communications, which outsources marketing services, and is also a primary investor in Red Zebra Broadcasting.
With the success of his company, Snyder bought the legendary Washington Redskins back in 1999 for a figure that, back then, made it the most expensive purchase in sports history at the time: $800 million. They’re now worth $3.1 billion, so, not a bad investment at all.
Net Worth: $4.3 billion
Owns: Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres
Pegula holds multiple business interests, natural gas being one of them. Additional to gas development, Pegula holds real estate as well as entertainment holdings and sports teams. Namely, the NHL Buffalo Sabres and the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Oh and he also owns the AHL’s Rochester Americans and the NLL’s Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks. Seems like a lot for one guy, right?
It seems that he’s a good sportsman too – he manages the clubs with ease, and fans are thrilled with how he’s running the clubs and taking them into the future for the next generation.
Net Worth: $2.15 billion
Owns: Arizona Cardinals
The owner of the Arizona Cardinals, the Chicago-born Bill Bidwill was worth a comfortable $2.15 billion. The majority shareholder of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL, he’s also had the longest tenure of any NFL owner, being involved in the management of the team since 1962. Sadly, Bidwill passed away just this year, aged 88. He leaves his fortune and his beloved Arizona Cardinals to his children.
Bidwill inherited the team from his parents, and his frugal business sense kept the team running in a streamlined fashion, which perhaps is a reason why he kept it in such good shape for so long. Trivia: he won the NFL Alumni Order of the Leather Helmet back in the 80s.
Net Worth: $7.8 billion
Owns: Jacksonville Jaguars
Shahid Khan has a pretty incredible story. Did you know that he started out washing dishes for just over a dollar an hour? But it seems his entrepreneurial spirit and determination got him to the top and amongst the richest people in the world.
Born in Punjab, Pakistan, Khan now splits his time between Pakistan and the U.S. The owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Khan is worth a whopping $7.8 billion! As for the secret to his fortune? Well, Flex-N-Gate. In 2017, the automotive manufacturing company was worth $7.5 billion. Khan likes his sport, and also owns Fulham F.C. (EPL) and the AEW (All Elite Wrestling).
Net Worth: $2.8 billion
Owns: New Orleans Saints (NFL)
Now, Gayle Benson has quite a history. Some of it is slightly scandalous and controversial. We’ll cover what we can, but a quick search will have you raising your eyebrows. The owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, the 72-year-old Benson took hold of the football team following her late husband Tom Benson’s death in 2018. The pair, in fact, met at a memorial service for Benson’s recently deceased wife at the time, Grace Benson. Eventually, the pair got married in 2004.
The New Orleans native’s first endeavor was in interior decorating, however, there were some slightly shifty business dealings that had her in court a few times. Nowadays, she’s living the high life, owning one of the NFL’s sports teams. In a scandalous twist, Tom Benson’s children, who assumed they would receive ownership of his assets, were left in the lurch when he signed them over to Gayle. Turns out, even after a lawsuit, Gayle emerged as the victor. Those step-kiddies must be furious!
Net Worth: $2.1 billion
Owns: Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)
The media mogul turned sports team enthusiast, turned movie producer Jeffrey Lurie has certainly had his various interests pay off – he’s worth a cool $2.1 billion. The owner of the NFL team the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s quite amazing how he achieved the sale – he purchased the Eagles from Norman Braman for $195 million. But here’s the catch: he and his mother Nancy borrowed $190 million, putting up only $5 million of their own cash reserves!
Now, we mentioned that Lurie is also a film producer – and these aren’t just B-grade films. He’s produced films like 'The Blind Side', 'Malibu Shoes', 'Sergio', 'Inside Job', 'Inocente', 'Sweet Hearts Dance', and others.
Net Worth: $2.7 billion
Owns: Indianapolis Colts (NFL)
Owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League, Jim Irsay was bound to end up with the team one day. When he was just 12 years old, Irsay’s father, Robert purchased the Baltimore Colts. This team then relocated and went on to become the Indianapolis Colts. He was named VP in 1984 following the relocation, and sadly the franchise came into his possession only following the death of his father in 1997. At the time, Irsay became the youngest NFL team owner at the age of 37.
Since Jim’s been at the head of the team, he’s added 14 wins to his belt, as well as a Super Bowl in 2006! Not bad at all. He’s a bit of a music nut as well, with quite a few notable investments in musical memorabilia, including Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript of “On the Road”, John Lennon’s ‘Sgt. Pepper’s' piano, guitars originally owned by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia and Prince.
Net Worth: $20.2 billion
Owns: Red Bull Racing, New York Red Bulls
Founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz is one wealthy man. Smartly differentiating his business and investing in extreme sports, including Red Bull Racing, Mateschitz has a globally recognized energy drink company that is now synonymous with daredevils and outlandish competitions. Not bad at all.
Initially, Mateschitz worked at Unilever as a detergent marketer, before moving to toothpaste. After one fated trip to Thailand, Mateschitz had his lightning bolt moment and had the idea for red bull. Launching it with two Thai business partners, he was inspired by a product that was on the market in Thailand, an untrademarked energy drink. He now owns the New York Red Bulls. Who can guess where the name came from?
Net Worth: $11.6 billion
Owns: Carolina Panthers (NFL)
Panthers owner David Tepper, regardless of the prestige in owning the NFL Team, shies away from the spotlight these days. Now that he’s in his 60s, Tepper plays off the field and away from the cameras, preferring to make use of his net worth quietly.
His fortune, which secured him the team, is something he owes to the hedge fund firm he founded, Appaloosa Management. But it came at a high cost – reportedly Tepper paid a staggering $2.2 billion. That figure is incredible, eclipsing the $1.4 billion paid for the Buffalo Bills in 2014. With the goal of launching “a major expansion of the team’s footprint in both Carolinas,” we’re sure that his investment is a smart one!
Net Worth: $7.8 billion
Owns: Miami Heat (NBA)
Israeli-born Micky Arison is a businessman and chairman of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise-line operator. He held the position as CEO from 1979 up until 2013, when he was replaced by Arnold W. Donald. The Tel-Aviv native dropped out of university to become a sales rep for the corporation after his father founded it with a single ship in 1972. It’s now grown, decades later, with the fleet comprising of a hundred ships.
As well as having a keen sense for leisure, Arison took on turning around Miami Heat in the NBA. The team is one of the biggest names in the NBA, scouting future Hall of Famers Pat Riley, DWade, Shaq, Lebron, and CB4! As well as being an extremely successful businessman, Arison is somewhat of a philanthropist, with him and his wife Madeleine’s Family Foundation pledging support relief for those affected by Hurricane Florence in the USA, as well as natural disasters in the Philippines and Indonesia.
Net worth: $30 billion
Owns: Manchester City F.C.
As soon as you see “Sheikh” in front of someone’s name, you know they’re not just playing with a couple of billion dollars. We’re talking tens of billions. Welcome to the big leagues – these guys are the ones that have gold-dipped Maybachs and private jets that rival commercial airliners. Oh, and of course, it’s going to be a sheik who owns a football club like Manchester United. The globally famous and popular team rakes in billions.
But Sheikh Mansour really didn’t even need the team to make money - the UAE born Mansour was the deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and he’s also a member of Dubai’s Royal Family. Half your luck, huh? But aside from being wealthy due to being part of Arab royalty, Mansour has placed some smart investments in companies like Richard Branson’s space travel company, Virgin Galactic, as well as Sky News Arabia, and ADUG.
Net Worth: $800 million
Owns: Tampa Bay Rays
Wall Street investor and Brooklyn native, Stuart Sternberg is next up on our list of wealthy sports team owners. The owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Rays, he’s been involved with the team since the early 2000s. Since November 2005, Sternberg was appointed as the managing general partner of the team, which he juggled alongside his professional career on the stock exchange.
After working at Spear, Leads and Kellogg, Sternberg jumped ship and made his money at Goldman Sachs, before getting out in 2002. Just a few years short of the crisis – so he would most certainly be thanking his lucky stars that he made the move when he did. And who wouldn’t want to quit the stressful stock exchange to focus on hockey?
Net Worth: $5.1 billion
Owns: San Francisco Giants
The owner of the San Francisco Giants is New Jersey-born billionaire, Charles Bartlett Johnson. He and his brother Rupert Johnson Jr. worked at a mutual fund company called Franklin Resources, started by their father in 1947. So the funds from that left him with enough money to secure the principal ownership of the San Francisco Giants.
Aside from being mega-wealthy, he’s very much into philanthropy. One of Yale’s main donors, he also founded the Johnson Center, dedicated to American Diplomacy. He recently donated $250 million to go towards the construction of two new residential colleges.