Jerry Reinsdorf is getting more attention these days in the media than he’s gotten in quite some time. In “The Last Dance”, the ESPN documentary that follows the career of Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 season of the Chicago Bulls that premiered on April 19, Reinsdorf is right there in the middle of things to offer his perspective, which has been fantastic.
But how did Jerry Reinsdorf become the owner of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox? How did he make his money in the first place and what is he worth today?
How did Jerry Reinsdorf make his money?
Following his undergraduate studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Jerry Reinsdorf continued his education by attending law school at Northwestern, which is located just outside the city of Chicago. In addition to being an attorney, Reinsdorf is also a CPA.
He started his career as a tax attorney for the IRS and then made a fortune in real estate, specializing in partnership tax shelters. In 1973, he formed Balcor, which raised approximately $650 million to invest in certain buildings that were already under construction. He sold the company to American Express in 1982 for $102 million but remained on the board until 1987.
He bought the Chicago White Sox in 1981 and the Chicago Bulls four years later
In 1981, Jerry Reinsdorf had already become a wealthy man and led a group that bought the Chicago White Sox. He signed a number of big-name players, upped the budgets in key departments and nearly doubled the number of scouts for the franchise, a team that included Jerry Krause. Just two years after Reinsdorf purchased the team, the White Sox had the best record in Major League Baseball in 1983, going 99-63. Unfortunately, they lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the postseason. The Sox have won five division titles under Reinsdorf and also the World Series in 2005, the club’s first championship since 1917. He still owns an estimated 19% stake in the team.
Four years after buying the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf bought the Chicago Bulls and brought in Jerry Krause to be his general manager. With Michael Jordan already on the team, Reinsdorf and Krause built a team around him and went on to win six NBA titles in the 1990s, becoming the center of the sports universe. The Bulls sold out every home game from November 1987 to November 1999. Even more than 20 years after the Bulls won their sixth and final championship, the franchise is still one of the most valuable in the NBA and is currently worth approximately $3.2 billion. Jerry Reinsdorf was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
How much is Jerry Reinsdorf worth?
In addition to his ownership of the White Sox and Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf is also on the boards of many organizations, including MLB Advanced Media and MLB Enterprises.
In 2015, he cracked the “Forbes Magazine” list of billionaires for the first time, the same year Michael Jordan joined the exclusive club. Today, 85-year-old Jerry Reinsdorf is worth $1.5 billion.