It’s assumed that sports owners have deep pockets, but some have far deeper pockets than others. They acquire their wealth via business ventures, hedge funds, investments, and more. Some of these owners are rich enough to own many sports teams, while others are part of a larger, wealthier group.
With so many owners from diverse backgrounds, however, these five franchise owners stand out as the richest owners in professional sports.
5. Jerry Jones: Dallas Cowboys, $8.6 billion
No sports owner is more synonymous with his team than Jerry Jones, and rightfully so. He doesn’t just own the Dallas Cowboys as a side hobby, Jones has lived and breathed football since he was the co-captain of the 1964 national championship team at the University of Arkansas.
Jones made his name in oil, but the Cowboys continue to be his biggest business asset, buying the team in 1989 for $150 million. Today, the team is worth $5.5 billion, showing that sports can be a lucrative investment for those with patience.
4. Stanley Kroenke: Los Angeles Rams, Arsenal Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Rapids, $9.7 billion
Stanley Kroenke may do sports enterprise better than anyone else. While he made his billions in real estate, owning more than two million acres of land, reports Forbes, he also made sports a money-making enterprise across several different leagues.
Kroenke started Kroenke Sports & Entertainment in 1999 and has built a portfolio of international teams since then. He started as a minority owner of the Los Angeles Rams and helped move them out of Los Angeles in 1995 only to bring them back 20 years later as the majority owner.
3. Philip Anschutz: Los Angeles Kings and LA Galaxy, $11.5 billion
Philip Anschutz has dipped his toes in many waters to make the money he has today. Somewhat of a jack of all trades, Anschutz claims he got his start as a six-year-old selling Kool-Aid at a nearby college campus. Now, he owns wind farms, an entertainment group, arenas, and, of course, sports teams.
Anschutz has a decades-old attachment to sports. Now, he owns the LA Galaxy, but as one of the founders of the MLS, he once owned several teams at once in order to keep the league afloat. Anschutz also owns the Los Angeles Kings and one-third of the Los Angeles Lakers. He is widely lauded as one of the savviest owners in sports.
2. David Tepper: Carolina Panthers, $12 billion
One of the greatest hedge fund managers in the world, David Tepper has managed as much as $20 billion at a time through his hedge fund, reports Forbes. He’s been in the financial world for many years, serving on the junk bond desk at Goldman Sachs before starting Appaloosa Management in 1993.
Tepper is a relative newcomer when it comes to team ownership, having bought the Carolina Panthers in 2018 for a cool $2.3 billion. While it’s too early to see how he will do as an owner, it’s safe to say he has the funds to make the Panthers very good for years to come — if he uses his money on the right people, facilities, and resources.
1. Steve Ballmer: Los Angeles Clippers, $51.7 billion
How rich is Steve Ballmer? If the other four owners on this list put all their money together, they would still need about $10 billion to come close to Ballmer’s wealth. The entrepreneur made his money working for Microsoft, jumping on board when the company was still young. Hired by Bill Gates in 1980, Ballmer climbed the Microsoft ladder, eventually becoming CEO before retiring in 2014.
That same year, Ballmer fulfilled a long-term dream of owning an NBA team. He bought the Los Angeles Clippers from embattled owner Donald Sterling after the court gave Sterling’s wife sole proprietorship of his assets. Since then, the Clippers have earned a better reputation. After signing Kawhi Leonard in July 2019, Ballmer has finally made the Clippers a big-time team.