The Richest Sports Teams Owners Know How To Spread Their Wealth

Teams | 9/6/19

Steve Ballmer and the Los Angeles Clippers had the best summer ever in 2019 when they somehow managed to land both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the same night. Milestones like that are what make Ballmer such a great sports owner. His $40 billion net worth probably helps too. With over 100 sports teams around the world worth at least $1 billion, you can bet the team owners are bringing in top dollar. Not everyone who sits in the owner’s suite has a billion bucks to their name. However, there’s more than a few, and we have them listed here.

Dan Gilbert – Cleveland Cavaliers

futuristic
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Dan Gilbert is the founder of Quicken Loans and has a net worth of $6.7 billion. His name really entered the spotlight when the team he owns lost the most hyped player in NBA history, LeBron James, to the Miami Heat.

He had some words for James that we’re sure he didn’t mean, especially after James returned and brought home the franchise’s first ring. Gilbert also owns the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters and the Canton Charge who is an NBA G League team.

Steve Ballmer – Los Angeles Clippers

shouting
Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before Steve Ballmer took over for the Los Angeles Clippers, there was Donald Sterling. After the NBA gave Sterling the boot for his gross behavior, Ballmer energetically bought the franchise for $2 billion. The former CEO of Microsoft meant business.

Since in power, his Clippers have faired not so bad, and in the summer of 2019, they won the Kawaii Leonard sweepstakes. The entertaining owner knows how to gain attention and help build up a franchise. Oh yeah, his net worth is $41.2 billion.

Bill Murray – Multiple Teams

billmurray at an event
ghostinkyrie/Twitter
ghostinkyrie/Twitter

Bill Murray built an enormous audience thanks to his ability to make people cry of laughter. The comedic actor might be a Hollywood staple, but he enjoys participating in simple things, like watching baseball. He enjoys America’s past time so much that he’s a part-owner of multiple minor league teams.

Included in these teams are the St. Paul Saints, and the Charleston Riverdogs. The latter is a Single-A affiliated with the New York Yankees. Murray loves to hold innovative promotions for the fans such as “Silent Night” where fans had to wait until the 5th inning to enter.

Mikhail Prokhorov – Brooklyn Nets

at a presser
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Brooklyn fans will enjoy this owner. Mikhail Prokhorov is a self-made billionaire straight from Russia. It wasn’t until May of 2010 that the NBA approved the sale of the Nets to Prokhorov, who then became the majority owner with an 80% stake.

He also acquired a 45% interest in Barclays Center sports and entertainment arena. This made him the first non-North American team owner in the NBA at the time. Prokhorov still lives in Moscow while owning this team.

Shahid Khan – Jacksonville Jaguars

jacksonville owner
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Shahid Khan moved to the United States when he was 16-years-old from Lahore, Pakistan. He probably never thought he would own the Jacksonville Jaguars at that time, but Khan worked tirelessly as he built his wealth.

He began in the auto parts industry and would end up buying the company he worked for after leaving college. Now the wealthy businessman owns the Jaguars, Fulham F.C., and All Elite Wrestling. He’s got his hands tied up in a ton of money!

Charles Johnson – San Francisco Giants

smiling with woman
ghostinkyrie/Twitter
ghostinkyrie/Twitter

Charles Johnson is the owner of the San Francisco Giants with a net worth of $5 billion. Before his climb to the top, he was an offensive guard at Yale College in the late ’50s.

After finding much success working at his father’s company, Franklin Resources, he shifted his focus. Johnson is now the richest sports team owner in Major League Baseball today. Johnson’s ownership group makes the big decisions, but he’s still the principal owner.

Robert Pera – Memphis Grizzlies

at press conference
NBATV/Twitter
NBATV/Twitter

Robert Pera is one of the youngest in the world to achieve the amount of wealth he’s accumulated. He’s the founder of Ubiquiti Networks, a company that manufactures wireless data communications products for enterprise providers.

Leading up to becoming one of the ten youngest billionaires, Pera purchased the Grizzlies from Michael Heisley in 2012. With still a long way to go before he reaches 50, Pera can expect to see his net worth continue to rise as he tries to make a championship team in Memphis.

Stephen Ross – Miami Dolphins

press conference
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Stephen Ross was a businessman long before acquiring the Miami Dolphins. He worked his ways through the trenches and created a global real estate development. He helped make The Related Companies wildly successful, and that’s when he bought 50 percent of the Dolphins and their stadium.

At the time, he spent $550 million for both of those properties. Let’s just say that now both are worth a lot more and he owns 95 percent of both.

Jerry Jones – Dallas Cowboys

hall of fame ceremony
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Avid sports enthusiasts and even the casual football fan knows about Jerry Jones. He might be the most famous sport’s owner in the nation, and that’s mostly thanks to owning “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys.

With all the notoriety, his bank account isn’t as big as others on this list. The primary source of his funds come from owning the football team, much like Robert Kraft. He’s in charge of making plenty of the team’s decisions every year.

Stanley Kroenke – Multiple Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets…

looking on speaking
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Having an immense amount of money in the bank gives you the incentive to own not just one, but multiple sports teams. Stanley Kroenke took it upon himself to hold a team from pretty much every major league in America.

He has an NBA (Denver Nuggets), NFL (Los Angeles Rams), NHL (Colorado Avalanche), and MLS (Colorado Rapids) team all under his name. The only thing missing from the equation is a baseball team! Since the NFL doesn’t allow you own multiple teams, the Nuggets and Avalanche ownership fall under his wife’s name.

Robert Kraft – New England Patriots, New England Revolution

owner kraft
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The last piece of news that included Robert Kraft most likely had nothing to do with sports. With a net worth of $6.5 billion, you’d think he’d do a better job at hiding his skeletons.

Still, none of that has prevented him from building one of the greatest sports empires to exist. With every Super Bowl victory, you can bet he’s only adding to his pockets. We’re interested to see what happens once Tom Brady retires.

Micky Arison – Miami Heat

with d-wade
Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Micky Arison has the pleasure of having an $8.9 billion net worth and owning the Miami Heat. Whenever he feels like catching a game, he gets to go to one of the most dynamic cities in America and catch superstars in action.

Arison was the chairman for cruise operator, Carnival Corporation for nearly 35 years. He bought the Miami Heat in 1995, and since then, he’s helped the franchise earn three titles. He has players like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to thank for that.

Philip Anschutz – Multiple Teams: Los Angeles Kings, LA Galaxy

mls owner
Shaun Clark/Getty Images
Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Philip Anschutz is one of the wealthiest sports owners thanks to his portfolio being so diversified. When he was only 21, he bought Circle A Drilling from his father and from there, things only went up.

Between the stock market, railroads, real estate, energy companies, entertainment, and sports, this gentleman has his hands in the money pot. If you’ve never heard of AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group), then know that entity belongs to Anshutz too and its helped make him his $10.9 billion net worth.

David Tepper – Carolina Panthers

in his team's gear
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The honor of being the wealthiest owner in the NFL belongs to David Tepper. As of 2019, he’s entirely new to this field as he comes from a hedge fund background. Tepper is also the founder of Appaloosa Management.

He bought the team in 2018 and paid the highest price tag in NFL history when he forked over $2.2 billion. That’s less than 30% of his $11.6 billion net worth. He must really like the Panthers.

Hasso Plattner – San Jose Sharks

sitting in front of art
Michele Tantussi/Getty Images
Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

Hasso Plattner is an SAP co-founder who loves golf. He owns multiple courses, including the CordeValle Gold Club and Fancourt Golf Estate. Why does the German-born billionaire own a hockey team? With a $13.5 billion net worth, he can whatever he so pleases to.

From Berlin, it seems like an od mixture of sports. One you play on the grass in excellent conditions, while hockey you play indoors where it’s pretty chilly. We’re not here to judge.

Dietrich Mateschitz – A Maltitude of Teams Including The New York Red Bulls

Dietrich Mateschitz smiling
Vladimir Rys Photography/Getty Images
Vladimir Rys Photography/Getty Images

It must be tiring to have $18.9 billion to your name. Just ask Dietrich Mateschitz, who was so tired of owning one team, he decided to have two more! The Austrian billionaire can name his teams whatever he wishes, and that’s what he did.

Mateshitz owns the New York Red Bulls (MLS), Red Bull Racing (Formula One), and the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda (Formula One). That’s one way to market for the company you co-founded.

Mukesh Ambani – Mumbai Indians

giving keynote
Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Many might not know this, but cricket has the second-most fans among every sport in the world with 2.5 billion. With a $50 billion net worth, let’s just say it was smart for Mukesh Ambani to purchase the Mumbai Indians, a great cricket team.

Ambani earned his wealth through petrochemicals, oil, and gas. He’s also the largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited, India’s most valuable company by its market value. The Mumbai Indians have a total of 4 Indian Premier League wins.

Roman Abramovich – Chelsea FC

roman looking
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

It’s one thing to have a $12.4 billion net worth, but it’s another to own Chelsea FC. Chelsea has won the fourth-most elite honors out of every English football club (31). Roman Abramovich has had a hand in that.

The Russian-Israeli billionaire is also a politician. He earned his money through steel and investments and is the primary owner of the private company Millhouse LLC. He knows his way with wealth and how to help build a stellar football team.

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha – Leicester City

hands together
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was the third-wealthiest Thai billionaire by net worth, and his world ranking was 414 ($5.9 billion). After his passing, his son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha took the helm. Now, Srivaddhanaprabha is the CEO and vice-chairman of King Power.

Srivaddhanaprabha has earned a net worth of $5.9 billion over the years and will now have a chance to make that go even higher in the absence of his dad. Leicester City plays in the Premier League, the top division of football.

Ted Lerner – Washington Nationals

sitting stern
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

With a net worth of $5.1 billion, Ted Lerner used some of it wisely and purchased the Washington Nationals. He bought the team over a dozen years ago, but in 2018, Lerner announced that he would be ceding control of the squad to his son.

“On a personal basis, obviously it’s very exciting for me,” Mark Lerner said in an interview before the vote. “It’s something I have dreamed of since I was a little guy. But more importantly, the faith my parents have in me for them to do this at this time, it’s very exciting in that regard.”