From real estate moguls to IT engineers, owning a professional sports club has become an attractive investment, with billions of revenue thanks to sponsorship deals and broadcasting contracts.
With Chelsea’s (now ex) owner Roman Abramovich being no longer on the list, there are other billionaire businesspeople who have invested their fortunes in sports franchises.
So, if you want to learn about the top ten richest sports team owners with numbers that will make your head spin, keep reading!
- Team: Los Angeles Clippers
- Source of wealth: Microsoft
- Net worth: £73.1 billion
Steven “Steve” Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014, is the first on our list of richest owners in sports. Bill Gates hired him as the first business manager in 1980, and he led several Microsoft divisions. He was then promoted to Executive Vice President, Sales and Support, before becoming Microsoft’s President and the company’s second man after CEO Gates.
After 14 years as Microsoft’s CEO, he purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for a record £1.6 billion. The Clippers are currently worth £2.6 billion and are ranked 9th in the NBA (National Basketball Association) Western Conference.
Ballmer has high hopes for the club, which is why he has invested his money in the construction of a new arena (Intuit Dome), which will cost him up to £1.6 billion and will open for 2024-25 season.
- Team: Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Monsters
- Source of wealth: Quicken Loans
- Net worth: £15.7 billion
Daniel Gilbert, an American businessman and investor, is the co-founder of Quicken Loans, the largest mortgage lender in the United States, which went public as Rocket Companies in 2020 with a net worth of £28.7 billion.
He got into the sport industry by becoming a majority owner of the Cavs in 2005 for £299,663 and radically changed the office, coaching staff and the game presentation. Since his arrival, the club has won six Central Division titles, five Eastern Conference titles, and one NBA championship.
Daniel is also the owner of the Cleveland Monsters, which are competing in the American Hockey League.
- Team: Memphis Grizzlies
- Source of wealth: Ubiquiti Networks, Inc.
- Net worth: £13.4 billion
The youngest person on the list is the founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, a global communications technology company that manufactures enterprise wireless products. He worked at Apple before the start-up of his own company.
Pera purchased the Memphis Grizzlies basketball team for £301 million in 2012, and in the first two years, they won more playoff games than the previous 17 seasons in the NBA. According to the October 2021 Forbes report, the team is worth £1.2 billion.
They currently rank among the best in the NBA West Conference and they have one of the future all-star players on their roster in Ja Morant.
- Team: Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC
- Source of wealth: Appaloosa Management
- Net worth: £13.4 billion
Another hedge funds manager on the list, David Tepper, is the owner of the Carolina Panthers in the NFL (National Football League) and Charlotte FC in MLS (Major League Soccer).
Tepper purchased a 5% stake in the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009 but sold them for an approximate £97 million, after which he bought the American football team Carolina Panthers for £1.8 billion in 2018. He agreed to a seven-year contract worth £48 million with head coach Matt Rhule, making him one of the highest-paid managers in the NFL.
The club has had little success since Tepper took over, finishing fourth in the 2021 NFL South.
He also spent a record £260 million to bring the 30th franchise of Major League Soccer to Charlotte.
- Team: New York Mets
- Source of wealth: Point72 Asset Management
- Net worth: £12.8 billion
The owner of Point72 Asset Management and philanthropist, Steve Cohen, is a hedge fund manager, known for employing a high-risk strategy. His previous company SAC Capital, one of the most successful hedge funds, pleaded guilty to insider trading charges and was fined £1.4 billion.
In 2012, Cohen became a minority owner of the baseball team New York Mets of Major League Baseball with 8%, before completely taking over the Mets for £1.9 billion in 2020 and becoming one of the wealthiest sports owners.
With a total of £2.1 billion net worth, the Mets held 3rd place in the NL East (National League) now, but back in the day some of the greatest baseball players played for the New York Mets.
- Team: Dallas Cowboys
- Source of wealth: Dallas Cowboys
- Net worth: £9.5 billion
One of the most wealthy sports team owners and former college football player is the American businessman Jerry Jones, who is the owner, president and manager of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys since 1989. He bought the team for £112 million, which is now valued at £5.2 billion and they have the highest gross revenue amongst all NFL teams.
In the first decade of his tenure, the Cowboys won three NFC Championships, six division titles, and three Super Bowls in four seasons. He impacted the Cowboys and the NFL landscape as a leader in sports marketing and media promotion.
Jerry also had an influence on the creation of the AT&T stadium, known as the crown jewel of NFL stadiums, which opened in 2009. As a member of many league committees, his contributions to marketing, sports management, and sponsorships have helped shape the NFL’s standings as the premier sports league.
- Team: Los Angeles Kings and LA Lakers
- Source of wealth: The Anschutz Corporation
- Net worth: £8.9 billion
Next on our list of the richest professional sports team owners is an American businessman who owns several companies in various industries, including railroads, oil, entertainment, and sports.
As a founding member of the MLS, Anschutz has been involved with multiple soccer teams, of which the most popular is the LA Galaxy. But he is mostly known as the owner of NHL’s (National Hockey League) Los Angeles Kings and the minority owner of NBA’s Lakers which is the most followed NBA team on social media.
In 2006, he received the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Medal of Honor for his contributions to the growth of the sport of soccer, and SportsBusiness Journal named Anschutz the most influential person in soccer in the United States. Anschutz has contributed to the league’s revenue growth by advocating for the construction of stadiums. In 2021, he was ranked 66th on the Forbes 400 list.
- Team: Arsenal FC and Arsenal WFC, LA Rams, LA Gladiators, LA Guerrillas, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth, Denver Nuggets
- Source of wealth: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, THF Realty
- Net worth: £8.6 billion
Stanley Kroenke, 74, is a tycoon and businessman who first made money in real estate before investing in professional sports. He owns over 5 million square metres of real estate, mostly shopping plazas near Walmart stores, as well as over 607,029 hectares of ranches in Canada and the US.
Kroenke is the owner of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, the holding company of Arsenal in the Premier League and the Women Super League, Denver Nuggets in the NBA, Colorado Rapids in MLS, LA Rams in NFL, Colorado Mammoth in the National Lacrosse League, Colorado Avalanche in NHL and the LA Gladiators and LA Guerrillas in esports Leagues.
Under Kroenke’s ownership, the clubs have won: LA Rams two Super Bowls, Colorado Avalanche a Stanley Cup, the Colorado Rapids an MLS Cup and the Colorado Mammoth a National Lacrosse League. Also, it’s worth mentioning that he built the Ball Arena in Denver, which is home to the Nuggets, Mammoth and Avalanche.
Ann Walton Kroenke
- Team: Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche
- Source of wealth: Walmart
- Net worth: £7.7 billion
Ann Walton Kroenke is a business owner and the heiress of the brand Walmart, a multinational retail corporation. She is the wife of Stanley Kroenke and the daughter of Bud Walton, the co-founder of Walmart. Ann and her sister Nancy inherited their stocks after their father died in 1995.
Through Stan’s company KSE, she is the owner of NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche because the NFL prohibits an owner from owning an NFL team in one city and another pro sports franchise in another. The couple’s son, Josh Kroenke, is in charge of those two teams.
Ann is a registered nurse, but her main source of income is from her businesswoman career.
- Team: Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham FC
- Source of wealth: Flex-N-Gate
- Net worth: £6.1 billion
And finally, on our list of richest sports franchise owners, we have the Pakistani-American business tycoon, owner of an automobile parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, the EFL’s Fulham FC and co-owner of the American wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling.
By 2020, Khan’s company had 69 plants worldwide and a sales revenue of more than £6.8 billion.
Khan completed the purchase of the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars for £614 million in 2012, which had a revenue of £190 million at the time. In 2013, he reached an agreement to buy Fulham FC for more than £159 million. Shahid and his son Tony Kahn launched AEL, a professional wrestling company, in 2019, with the goal of providing fans with a never-before-seen wrestling experience. He also serves on the NFL Foundation’s board of directors.
So these were just some big names in the business sphere, but the list of the richest sports team owners is continually growing. Sport games like soccer, basketball, and ice hockey are becoming increasingly popular, so millionaires and billionaires find it is not an enormous risk to enter the world of sports.
No doubt, since sports remain the world’s most popular form of entertainment.