Buying a sports team doesn’t make you rich (not automatically, in any case). But then again, it doesn’t really need to. For the world’s richest sports team owners, the sports team is just an accessory to their wealth – a status symbol, a little indulgence, a passion. For these billionaires, their money has already been made from investments, tech, and business. Earlier this year, Forbes rounded up the richest of the rich to give us the lowdown on which teams have the wealthiest owners. Intrigued to find out which owner has the most billions in their bank account? Then hold tight as we take you through the 20 richest sports owners in the world today.
20. Terrence Pegula - Net Worth: $5 Billion
Team: Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres
Over the past year, Terrence Pegula has suffered an 11% drop in net worth. But considering he’s still sitting pretty on $5 billion, you can spare him the violins for now. The businessman made his wealth from natural gas development, while his secondary interests in real estate and entertainment haven’t exactly harmed the state of his bank balance. A native of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, Pegula owns the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL) via his company, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, and the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL) with his wife Kim.
19. Micky Arison - Net Worth: $5.1 Billion
Team: Miami Heat
Israeli-American businessman Micky Arison has made his billions as the owner of Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise operator. In 1995, he indulged his lifetime passion for team sports by buying the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Under his ownership, the team has enjoyed outstanding success, and currently boast the NBA’s third-longest winning streak. Arison currently enjoys a net worth of $5.1 billion: a huge amount by most people’s standards, but a whopping 41% decrease on his worth this time last year.
18. Tom Gores - Net Worth: $5.7 Billion
Team: Detroit Pistons
Tom Gores may have suffered a 43% decline in his wealth over the past year, but the owner of the Detroit Pistons is still a far way from being broke. Current estimates place his net worth at $5.7 billion, a fortune he’s made through his Beverly Hills-based private equity firm, Platinum Equity.
17. Daniel Gilbert - Net Worth: $6.5 Billion
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Up next is Daniel Gilbert, the proud owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and even prouder owner of a $6.5 billion net worth. As infoanyday.com notes, Gilbert has made his money as the co-founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, one of the US’s top mortgage loaning providers, along with the holding firm Rock Ventures.
16. Dmitry Rybolovlev - Net Worth: $6.6 Billion
Team: FC Monaco
Russian businessman and investor Dmitry Rybolovlev became the President of Monaco's football club AS Monaco in 2011, after already having secured his billions as the owner of the potash producer, Uralkali. Considering the company reported a net revenue for 2019 of $2,364 million, it’s not hard to understand how he’s managed to build such an impressive fortune.
15. Robert Kraft - Net Worth: $6.9 Billion
Team: New England Patriots, New England Revolution, Boston Uprising
Some billionaires limit themselves to just one sports team. Some like to push boundaries by buying two. Robert Kraft has gone one step further by acquiring three: the National Football League's New England Patriots, Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, and the first esports team in New England, Boston Uprising. He’s even got a stadium to his name (Gillette Stadium, where both the New England Patriots and New England Revolution play). But then again, he does need to find someplace to spend some of his stonking $6.9 billion fortune.
14. Robert Pera - Net Worth: $7 Billion
Team: Memphis Grizzlies
Businessman Robert Pera hasn’t had the best of luck in the press recently, at least as far as his reputation as owner of the Memphis Grizzlies goes. Described by nba.nbcsports.com as both ‘overbearing’ and ‘distant’ in Memphis, there was some talk earlier this year that he might be considering moving on from the team. But if the fans have anything to do with it, the billionaire owner of Ubiquiti Networks, Inc won’t be going anywhere: under the first two years of his tenure alone, the team won more playoffs than it had in all of the previous 17 seasons of the NBA combined.
13. Stephen Ross - Net Worth: $7.6 Billion
Team: Miami Dolphins
As the Washington Post reports, Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, is currently under fire for planning a fundraiser for President Trump’s re-election campaign. According to the publication, attendees will be offered a photo and lunch with Trump for $100,000, and lunch, photo, and an invite to a private roundtable discussion with the president for $250,000. For many of the customers of his Equinox gyms and SoulCycle studios, the move has put the usually media-shy billionaire firmly in the line of fire. But then again, he has more to console himself with than most, with current estimates pinning his net worth at around $7.6 billion.
12. Shahid Khan - Net Worth: $7.8 Billion
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham F.C.
Pakistani-born American billionaire businessman and sports tycoon Shahid Khan made his fortune with the automotive company, Flex-N-Gate. While we don’t know (and wouldn’t like to guess) how he’s spent the majority of his money, a fair portion has gone on one of his favorite hobbies, buying up sports teams. Currently, his portfolio includes both the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) and Fulham F.C. of the Premier League (EPL). He also has co-ownership of All Elite Wrestling (AEW). With a wealth of $7.8 billion, he’s second only to David Tepper in the NFL rich stakes.
11. Jerry Jones - Net Worth: $8 Billion
Team: Dallas Cowboys
As his Forbes profile notes, Jerry Jones made his name as an oil wildcatter, making his first million in the 1970s with oil investments. He’s since broadened his portfolio to include retail and residential real estate projects. Along with his interests in sports (he’s currently the owner of the Dallas Cowboys), he’s an avid art collector whose impressive collection includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, and other notable artists.
10. Joseph Tsai - Net Worth: $10 Billion
Team: Brooklyn Nets
As co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, Philip Anschutz is one very wealthy man. Little wonder, then, how’s he managed to fund his all-consuming passion for sports. According to Wiki, the Taiwanese-born Canadian businessman and philanthropist has interests in several different teams and leagues (including the Premier Lacrosse League, San Diego Seals and J Tsai Sports) and currently owns the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA.
9. Stanley Kroenke - Net Worth: $10 Billion
Team: Los Angeles Rams, Arsenal, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids
73-year-old businessman Stanley Kroenke clearly isn’t a believer in the old adage, less is more. As the owner of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, his portfolio of teams is almost too big to list, including as it does the English Premier League football club Arsenal F.C., the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL, Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, the Los Angeles Gladiators of the Overwatch League, and the newly formed Los Angeles Guerrillas of the Call of Duty League.
8. Philip Anschutz - Net Worth: $11 Billion
Team: Los Angeles Kings, LA Galaxy
Heard the expression ‘a finger in every pie’? Philip Anschutz is the living, breathing definition of the saying. Over the last few decades, he’s had interests in everything from energy and railroads to real estate, newspapers, movies, theaters, arenas, music, and, of course, sports. Ranked by Worth as one of the 50 most powerful people in sport, he’s clearly a man who doesn’t do things by halves. Having co-founded the American association football/soccer league Major League Soccer, he’s since taken on the ownership of both the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings and the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers.
7. Roman Abramovich - Net Worth: $11.3 Billion
Team: Chelsea FC
Russian oligarch and billionaire Roman Abramovich was recently spotted by the eagle-eyed reporters over at justdubrovnik.com sailing around the Croatian coast aboard his nine deck, 163-meter long superyacht, the Eclipse. When he purchased the Eclipse in 2010, it held the title of the largest superyacht ever built. With a value of $1.2 million, it’s also one of the most expensive. But superyachts aren’t the only thing Abramovich likes to splash his cash on. For the past two decades, he’s been investing heavily in Chelsea Football Club, a club he bought in 2003 and has since taken to the top of the league table on more occasions than we can count. When he’s not cheering his club on from the sidelines, he’s topping up his billions at Millhouse LLC, the private investment company he founded in 2001.
6. David Tepper - Net Worth: $12 Billion
Team: Carolina Panthers
Hedge fund manager and philanthropist David Tepper’s habit of turning seemingly risky investments into million-dollar deals has earned him the nickname of ‘golden god’ among his peers. It’s also given him the financial freedom to indulge in one of his greatest loves: sport. After dipping his toes in the water with a 5% stake in the National Football League's (NFL) Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009, he went all out in 2018 when he bought the NFL's Carolina Panthers from their founder Jerry Richardson. He’s since expanded the franchise with Charlotte FC, who are set to play their first game in 2022.
5. Hasso Plattner & Family - Net Worth: $12.4 Billion
Team: San Jose Sharks
German-born businessman Hasso Plattner started his career with IBM. After several years of climbing the ranks, he left to start his own software company, SAP. According to celebfamily.com, SAP now has 74,0000 employees across the globe and an annual revenue in excess of $21 billion. Little wonder that its founding owner didn’t think twice before splashing some of his $12.4 billion fortune on the San Jose Sharks.
4. Dietrich Mateschitz – Net Worth: $16.5 Billion
Team: New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Alphatauri
Over the past year, Dietrich Mateschitz’s wealth has seen a 13% decline. That said, he’s still got more in the bank than most of us have hairs on our heads… $16.5 billion, by the last count. Having made his billions by turning a little known Chinese beverage called Krating Daeng into the phenomenon that is Red Bull, he’s spent the past few decades indulging his passion for buying up sports teams, including the New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Racing, and Scuderia Alphatauri.
3. François Pinault & Family - Net Worth: $27 Billion
Team: Stade Rennais FC
In 1963, François Pinault founded Kering. Originally conceived as a wood and building materials company, it subsequently grew into one of the biggest and most profitable luxury goods companies in the world. In addition to owning the legendary auction house Christie's, a luxury superyacht, an expedition company, and multiple vineyards in their native France, Pinault and his family also own the French soccer team, Stade Rennais FC.
2. Mukesh Ambani - Net Worth: $36.8 Billion
Team: Mumbai Indians
With a net worth of $36.8 billion, Mukesh Ambani is India’s richest man. He made his fortune as the chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder of the Fortune Global 500 company, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). As well as living in one of the world’s most expensive private residences (the $1 billion, 27-story Mumbai landmark, Antilia), he’s also demonstrated his vast spending power by buying up the Indian Premier League franchise, Mumbai Indians.
1. Steve Ballmer - Net Worth: $52.7 Billion
Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Steve Ballmer made his money at Microsoft, replacing Bill Gates as it’s CEO and serving with the company until February 4, 2014. Directly after departing the tech giant, he put in a bid for a reported $2 billion (the second-highest bid for a sports franchise in history) for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. The bid proved successful, and he’s ruled the roost at the Clippers ever since. Under his tenure, the Clippers have transformed from one of the NBA’s most maligned teams to one of its most successful, appearing in the playoffs seven times between 2012 and 2019.
Written by Allen Lee
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