Jim Irsay is one of the wealthiest and one of the NFL’s most high-profile owners. He’s also one of the most active owners on social media. The Indianapolis Colts owner has been busy lately with a creative way via Twitter to help local restaurants during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
How the Irsays got to own the Colts
When Robert Irsay passed away on Jan. 14, 1997, Jim Irsay took over as owner of the Indianapolis Colts. He’s been the owner ever since and has become one of the NFL’s most influential owners. How the Irsays became the owners of the Colts is quite an interesting story.
Back in 1971, the Los Angeles Rams franchise was put up for sale and Robert Irsay, who was from Chicago, had hopes of owning an NFL team. Meanwhile, Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom had been trying to move the team out of Baltimore due to a lack of fan support. After Hugh Culverhouse, a man who would later become the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, bid on the LA franchise, Robert Irsay outbid him at the last minute.
Robert Irsay’s bid was accepted and a trade was made. It wasn’t a trade involving any players, however. It was a trade that involved swapping franchises. Rosenbloom swapped his Baltimore Colts for Robert Irsay’s LA Rams.
Jim Irsay is one of the wealthiest owners in sports
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Jim Irsay is worth $2.7 billion. In 2019, the Indianapolis Star reported that Irsay turned down a $3.2 billion offer for the team. In September of 2019, Irsay took to Twitter to assure the Colts fans that the team was not for sale.
Irsay also likes to spend his money. The Colts owner has made numerous investments in the memorabilia market and has created quite the collection. Some of his items include original guitars owned by Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Prince – those who were not only great musicians, but also had an influence on him.
“I consider myself a really serious businessman, but I think big business can have big heart,” Irsay said in the New York Times in 2005. “My influence from people like John Lennon and others growing up, my feeling is that you can be a lot of different things. People like John Lennon, Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan had a huge influence, their beliefs, the way Lennon was a guy who took it to far lengths in terms of the peace movement.”
Irsay gives back during pandemic
While Jim Irsay’s wealth is considered big time, he also looks after those smaller businesses. Many smaller businesses, such as restaurants, have been affected by COVID-19, and Irsay has been doing his part to help. Irsay has been using his Twitter platform to find creative ways to assist those small businesses in need.
Irsay has been offering gift cards, some in the form of $250 or $500, to random winners of his trivia contests on Twitter. He’s called it the “help our restaurants” trivia contest. On Thursday he was handing out gift certificates to 20 different winners to help support local restaurants.
Jim Irsay may be one of the big-boy players in the NFL, but he’s also looking out for those small owners in the real world.