The NFL manages to generate billions and billions of dollars on an annual basis. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that NFL teams tend to be rather expensive, which in turn, means that NFL team owners tend to be rather rich. With that said, there can still be significant differences in the net worth of NFL team owners, as shown by the numbers cited for said individuals. Here are the 15 richest NFL owners in the world (arranged by net worth):
15. Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles – $1.85 Billion
There are a lot of people who will be familiar with Jeff Lurie because his family founded General Cinema, which was a chain of movie theaters that could be found throughout the United States for a time. However, while General Cinema no longer exists, Jeff Lurie remains successful, as shown by the fact that he is the current owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. This is because while he worked for General Cinema for a time, he made a successful transition to the production side of things, with the result that he has actually won not one but two Oscars for projects that he has been involved with. Amusingly, both Lurie and the rest of his family are huge fans of the Boston sports teams, which is why he actually made an attempt to buy the New England Patriots at one point in time but was prevented from doing so because he was outbid. Instead, he wound up buying the Philadelphia Eagles, which was made possible by the support of his family. Given that the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots have faced off twice at the Super Bowl, one can’t help but wonder what Lurie was thinking during those times, particularly considering that he has had one win and one loss on said occasions.
14. Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins – $2.3 Billion
Daniel Snyder and his sister Michele were the co-founders of Snyder Communications, which started out by offering wallboard marketing services. This start-up was made possible by a combination of a loan from their father, who took out a mortgage on one of his properties, with Michele maxing out her credit cards to secure sufficient funding. As it turned out, Snyder Communications managed to carve out a place for itself in the world of outsourced marketing, which was made possible by the two’s choice to different themselves from their competitors by combining their initial services with the offering of product samples to interested individuals. Over time, Snyder Communications expanded more and more, which in turn, made it possible for Daniel Snyder to buy the Washington Redskins when the chance came up. Under his ownership, said NFL team has seen a huge upswing in its revenue generation, which can be attributed in significant part to the sponsorship deals that it has struck up with a number of interested parties. In particular, it is worth mentioning FedEx, which actually bought the right to have its name attached to the stadium used by the Washington Redskins.
13. Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts – $2.7 Billion
Unlike most of the other NFL team owners on this list, Jim Irsay has been involved with his NFL team since close to the start. This is because he started working for the Indianapolis Colts when it was still the Baltimore Colts, which had been bought by his father Robert Irsay. When his father passed away, Jim Irsay went through a legal battle with his stepmother for the control of the NFL team, which ended with him becoming the youngest NFL team owner in the history of the league. Ever since then, he has been very active with not just managing his NFL team but also contributing to the NFL in various ways. For example, he has been known to push for rules changes for the leagues on more than one occasion. Likewise, he was one of those who opposed the idea of Rush Limbaugh purchasing the St. Louis Rams because of his concerns about the resulting impact on the NFL’s image.
12. Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints – $2.8 Billion
Tom Benson got his start as a car salesman. He proved to be so successful that he wound up with a 25 percent interest in a car dealership, which soon turned into a state of full ownership. In time, Benson became the owner of a number of car dealership, which brought in money that he proceeded to invest in local banks. Even later still, he outright purchased a number of small banks for the purpose of forming a company called Benson Financial before selling it on to Norwest Corporation. With that said, Benson tends to be better-known for his ownership of the New Orleans Saints because he was one of the more colorful NFL team owners, which was helped by the fact that he saw both rises and falls in popularity over time. For example, his popularity rose at the start because he had saved the NFL team from being moved elsewhere. However, his popularity plummeted when he at one point in time, threatened to move the NFL team if it didn’t get a new stadium. Likewise, similar fears in the wake of Hurricane Katrina resulted in a lot of unfriendly feelings, which cleared up to a significant extent when the New Orleans Saints went on to win Super Bowl XLIV. On top of this, Benson had a habit of second line dancing in the closing minutes with a umbrella in team colors whenever the New Orleans Saints would win at home, thus making him that much more notable. Unfortunately, Benson passed away in March of 2018 at the age of 90.
11. Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland Browns – $3.5 Billion
Jimmy Haslam’s father Jim Haslam was the one who founded the Pilot Corporation, which is a petroleum corporation that happens to run a series of convenience stores as well. Regardless, Haslam got his start at the Pilot Corporation, where he oversaw a fair amount of its expansion in its existing operations as well as in other lines of business. However, it is interesting to note that Haslam continues to live in Knoxville, which is his hometown, where he happens to be involved in a wide range of local organizations in various ways.
Currently, Jimmy Haslam and his wife Dee are the owners of the Cleveland Browns. Previously, Haslam had owned part of the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, since the NFL doesn’t allow NFL team owners to have ownership stakes in more than one NFL team, he was required to sell his ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers before he was permitted to buy the Cleveland Browns when the chance came up. Since then, the Cleveland Browns haven’t had the best record, but to be perfectly fair about that fact, it didn’t exactly have the best record before Haslam took over in 2012 either.
10. Robert McNair, Houston Texans – $3.8 Billion
Robert McNair started out in cogeneration by founding a company called Cogen Technologies. However, he has since sold said company, though he still retains ownership of power plants that can be found in the state of New York as well as the state of West Virginia. Since then, McNair has become much more involved in finance, as shown by the new companies that he heads. Regardless, McNair is not just the owner of the Houston Texans but also the main figure behind its creation, seeing as how he was the one who sought out the 32nd NFL franchise that resulted in the founding of said NFL team.
9. Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons – $4.2 Billion
Once upon a time, Arthur Blank worked for the Daylin Corporation. In time, he ended up as the vice president of finance at a division of Daylin Corporation when both he and his boss were fired as a result of a power struggle. As a result, the two decided to start their own business in the form of the Home Depot, which went on to revolutionize DIY because of its warehouse approach to its operations. Suffice to say that made both men very rich, with Blank serving as President for years and years before succeeding his co-founder as CEO for a time. Nowadays, Blank is retired from Home Depot, but he is still involved with other organizations in various ways, as shown by the fact that he owns the Atlanta Falcons and has shown an interest in owning other sports teams as well.
8. Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens – $4.2 Billion
Steve Bisciotti made his fortune via staffing. To be exact, he and his cousin started up a staffing company that specialized in the aviation sector as well as the tech sector, which managed to bring in $1.5 million in sales in its first year of operation in spite of the fact that the two were still running their operations out of a basement office at the time. Regardless, that first company served as the seed for Bisciotti’s business empire, which enabled him to become a part owner of the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 and then the majority owner in 2004. In 2005, Bisciotti ranked 378 among the Forbes 400, a list of the richest Americans
7. Terrence Pegula, Buffalo Bills – $4.3 Billion
In 2011, Terrence Pegula was the one who bought out both the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL and the Buffalo Bandits of the NLL, which brought him a fair amount of positive press in Buffalo because of the revitalization in those teams that can be attributed to his investment in them. This positive impression strengthened with Pegula’s purchase of the Buffalo Bills, which happened because he beat out not just Donald Trump but also Bon Jovi backed by powerful figures from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. As a result, Pegula and his wife Kim Pegula were able to launch the One Buffalo marketing campaign, which has since managed to make a successful transition to being a brand for their Buffalo-based sports teams. Besides sports, Terrence Pegula is involved in natural gas, real estate, and even the country music industry to a small extent.
6. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys – $5.6 Billion
Jerry Jones has been the owner of the Dallas Cowboy since 1989. As a result, he has been an influential figure for not just said NFL team but also the NFL as a whole. For starters, when Jones bought the Dallas Cowboy, he fired the coach Tom Landry so that he could replace Landry with his old teammate from college football, which was followed by the firing of the general manager to be replaced by Jones himself. Under him, the Dallas Cowboy became one of the most successful NFL teams of the 1990s, which in turn, propelled Jones to becoming a billionaire. On top of this, Jones played a pivotal in securing the broadcast deal between the NFL and Fox, which was one of the reasons that the NFL has become so rich. Unfortunately, while Jones has accomplished a great deal, his accomplishments have brought him a fair amount of criticism as well. Partly, this is because of his choices, and partly, this is because of his prominence, meaning that the failures of the Dallas Cowboys are seen as his failures, whether rightly or wrongly.
5. Robert Kraft, New England Patriots – $6.2 Billion
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Robert Kraft is the head of the Kraft Group. Primarily, the Kraft Group is known for holding both the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution as well as the stadium in which both teams play their games. However, it should be noted that the Kraft Group is responsible for holding other companies as well, with examples ranging from real estate development to paper and packaging. In fact, it is worth noting that Kraft got his start at a packaging company that had been owned by his father-in-law, though he eventually ended up in charge of said company by buying it out.
Currently, Kraft is famous for his ownership of the New England Patriots. This is well-deserved because he went to enormous lengths to secure ownership over the NFL team. The full details are too much to be listed here, but suffice to say that Kraft had to secure control over the facilities to gain leverage over the New England Patriots, which he put to use preventing its owners from moving elsewhere. As a result, the fact that the New England Patriots are still the New England Patriots is something that can be attributed to Kraft, who outright broke his usual rules of conducting business because of his love for the NFL team, as shown by the fact that he paid a record-breaking sum for it in the end.
4. Shahid Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars – $7.4 Billion
Shahid Khan has something of a reputation for being a living embodiment of the American Dream. This is because he came from a middle-class family in Pakistan but moved to the United States when he was still at the age of 16 to study at one of the campuses of the University of Illinois. On his first night, he slept in a room at the YMCA that cost $2 per night. Moreover, his first job was as a dish-washer, which earned him no more than $1.20 per hour. However, Khan managed to rise from those humble beginnings and then proceeded to rise further and further still. From starting out as an engineering director at an automotive manufacturer upon graduation, he rose to become the boss by buying out the business from his one-time boss before proceeding to expand its operations throughout the United States and even other countries. As a result, Khan’s business now earns revenues measuring in the billions on an annual basis.
The Jacksonville Jaguars wasn’t Khan’s first attempt to buy a NFL team. Instead, that was the Rams, which was still the St. Louis Rams at the time. However, while Khan’s proposal was accepted by the majority owner at the time, the minority owner Stan Kroenke made use of a clause in a contract that let him match proposed bids. As a result, Khan went for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, thus making him the first member of an ethnic minority to own a NFL team. Based on this, it is no wonder that he is seen as a living example of the American Dream.
3. Stephen M. Ross, Miami Dolphins – $7.6 Billion
Initially, Stephen M. Ross worked for others. However, he was able to turn his understanding of the law as well as his expertise and experience in real estate into a career as an independent real estate developer. Over time, Ross managed to establish an excellent reputation for his services, which enabled him to become more and more successful as a businessman. Something that in turn, enabled him to look beyond the world of real estate, with an excellent example being his purchase of the Miami Dolphins.
Besides being a NFL team owner, it is interesting to note that Stephen M. Ross is famous for his philanthropy as well. In fact, over the course of his lifetime, Ross has given hundreds of millions of dollars to his alma mater of the University of Michigan. There are people who have given more to colleges and universities than Ross, but their numbers are very, very small indeed. Of course, his alma mater is not the sole institution that Ross has benefited, which is not mentioning that time that he has spent on various civic pursuits. In more recent times, there are even a fair number of NFL fans who have good things to say about Ross for the simple reason that he was the sole NFL team owner to vote against the Oakland Raiders’ request to move to Las Vegas, which he said was because the team hadn’t done all that was within its power to stay in its current home.
2. Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles Rams – $8.1 Billion
Stan Kroenke is someone with a strong interest in sports teams. For proof, look no further than the fact that he is the head of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which holds not just the Los Angeles Rams but also the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and more besides. This is an important distinction because the NFL has rules that forbid team owners from owning teams belonging to other markets, which is why the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche are owned by Stan Kroenke’s wife Ann Walton Kroenke instead. For those who recognize the name, Ann Walton Kroenke is indeed a member of the Walton family that owns Walmart.
Regardless, Stan Kroenke started out as someone working at his father’s lumber yard, which soon resulted in him keeping the books for said business. Later on, he started up the Kroenke Group, which specializes in real estate development. Even later still, he became involved in other businesses, as shown by his ownership stakes in sports teams as well as his numerous ranches. It is interesting to note that Stan Kroenke is sometimes called Silent Stan, which is attributable to the fact that he is reluctant to be interviewed by members of the press.
1. Paul Allen, Seattle Seahawks – $20.9 Billion
Generally speaking, when people think Microsoft, they tend to think Bill Gates. However, it is important to note that Microsoft was co-founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the latter is one of the wealthiest people in the entire world. For those who are curious, the estimates for Paul Allen’s net worth can see a fair amount of variation, but they tend to be somewhere along the lines of $21 billion. Suffice to say that this makes him the wealthiest person on this list by a significant margin.
Besides being the owner of the Seattle Seahawks, Paul Allen was the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers as well as one of the part-owners of the Seattle Sounders FC. Moreover, he is the head of Vulcan Inc., which serves as the corporate umbrella for his business interests as well as his philanthropic endeavors. For example, his ownership stakes in the various sports teams are overseen by Vulcan Inc. Likewise, the corporation includes a research institute that studies AI as well as a second research institute that studies the functions of the human brain. It is interesting to note that at one point in time, Vulcan Inc. was focused on the Pacific Northwest, but in the present, it has a much broader focus, which explains why it can be found in the International District in Seattle.
Unfortunately Paul Allen passed away in late 2018.