If there’s one place where millionaires rub shoulders on a regular basis, it’s professional sports. The NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and EPL are full of multimillion-dollar athletes.
The extraordinarily wealthy owners at the top vastly out-earn their employees. Let’s take a look at the 10 wealthiest people in sports and discuss their net worth.
1. Steve Ballmer ($72 Billion)
Steve Ballmer spent a significant portion of his professional life with the computer giant Microsoft. Ballmer started with the company in 1980, and it wasn’t until 2000 that Ballmer became the company’s CEO.
Obviously, Ballmer had huge shoes to fill with the company’s founder Bill Gates’s void left. Ballmer brought his exuberant personality and brilliant business mind to the role.
It was Ballmer that saw how pouring a massive amount of cash into Apple would not only save Jobs and his fledgling company but be a tremendous win for Microsoft.
If you are one of the millions of Americans that pay $25+ for your iPhone every month through your cell provider, you have Ballmer to thank.
His initiative made the iPhone more affordable by bringing on the financing movement in the cell phone industry.
In 2014, Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for a whopping $2 billion. That’s the second-highest price ever paid for a professional sports franchise.
2. David Tepper ($12 Billion)
Tepper amassed a fortune by being a significant player in the lucrative area of hedge funds. His Appaloosa Management is one of the most profitable firms on the planet.
Like many of his billionaire brethren, Tepper decided to leverage his vast wealth to get into pro sports. In addition to owning the Charlotte FC of MLS, Tepper also owns the Carolina Panthers. You could say that Tepper is Mr. Sports in Charlotte.
Tepper previously owned a 5% stake in his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Philanthropy seems to be a full-time job for Tepper. He regularly donates millions to universities. Sometimes up to $125 million. Glad to see he’s spending his $14 billion responsibly.
3. Robert Pera ($14 Billion)
Pera is the young billionaire that founded Ubiquiti Networks. His time working at Apple in their Wi-Fi compliance department gave him a crash course in the most up-to-date technology.
He used this education and under $35,000 to launch Ubiquiti Networks in 2005. Almost 16 years later, Pera is worth nearly $15 billion.
That’s one heck of a return on investment.
Of course, it didn’t come with a lot of hard work and determination.
Pera jumped into the owners’ club when he purchased the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012. Pera was only 33-years-old when he bought the team.
His youthful exuberance and willingness paid off. The team began making playoff runs for the first time in franchise history. What else are you supposed to do when you’re a billionaire at 33?
4. Philip Anschutz ($11.7 Billion)
Philip Anschutz does a little bit of everything. Well, by “everything,” we mean anything that makes lots and lots of money.
Anschutz acquired his father’s drilling company in the early 1960s and never looked back. The company made millions in Wyoming, and Anschutz began acquiring other drilling companies.
He also expanded his vast empire by buying railroads and investing heavily in the stock market.
Anschutz has spread the wealth across the professional sports landscape. He not only founded MLS but also co-founded six of the league’s premier teams.
The wealthy businessman owns a stake in one of the most storied franchises of all time, the Los Angeles Lakers. Still, it’s his ownership of the Los Angeles Kings that he’s best known for in the sports world.
Anschutz has built a personal wealth of over $11 billion.
5. Jerry Jones ($8.5 Billion)
Unless you’re a Cowboys fan, I don’t see how you can dislike Jerry Jones—well, except for a few Super Bowl-winning coaches that come to mind.
Jones burst onto the sports scene in 1989 when he purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $140 million. It was a tremendous sum at the time but a phenomenal investment in hindsight.
Not only did Jones quickly pull off three Super Bowls, but the team is now worth billions.
Jones’ wealth has been estimated at $8.5 billion.
Jones thrust himself into the spotlight almost immediately and has been the franchise’s face for the past 32 years. Of course, not everyone is happy about the owner’s involvement as the acting general manager. Jones has received massive criticism from fans, media, and former coaches.
Still, Jones was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, cementing his legacy as one of the most high-profile sports history owners.
6. Stanley Kroenke ($8.3 Billion)
Kroenke may not be quite as rich on paper as some of the others on this list. However, when it comes to the wealthiest people in sports, his worth is eclipsed by the magnitude of his involvement.
Kroenke owns franchises in professional lacrosse, MLS, and even two esports teams.
Kroenke Sports and Entertainment is one of the leading partnerships in the sports world. They own some of the most iconic franchises on the planet.
For starters, Kroenke owns both the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets. These two may not knock your socks off, but both teams are regular players in the post-season.
Kroenke also owns the Los Angeles Rams, a team that is only one season removed from a Super Bowl appearance and one of the most popular franchises in the NFL.
Still, it’s the billionaire’s role as majority shareholder of Arsenal F.C. that puts Kroenke near the top.
7. Shahid Khan ($7.9 Billion)
Khan is a Pakistani-born businessman that made most of his fortune from his automotive company Flex-N-Gate. Khan has grown his empire to a net worth of over $8 billion and began buying sports teams like many of his uber-rich buddies.
On top of that, Khan owns All Elite Wrestling, a massive entertainment company that is trying to rival the WWE.
In 2011, Khan purchased the Jacksonville Jaguars for $760 million with the clause that the team would stay in Jacksonville.
Fulham F.C. of the EPL is also one of Khan’s acquisitions. He has owned the team since 2013.
8. Daniel Gilbert ($49.6 Billion)
Daniel Gilbert is the co-founder and chairman of Quicken Loans. Gilbert founded Rock Financial in 1985 with his brother Gary Gilbert.
The two had the idea that the easy money was in originating loans and not selling the houses themselves. The strategy paid off. Through acquisitions and an effective marketing strategy, that small company has grown to its current juggernaut status.
Gilbert is currently worth nearly $50 billion, thus, making him not only one of the wealthiest people in sports but among the richest on the planet.
In 2005, Gilbert bought the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team has since won five Eastern Conference Championships and the franchise’s lone NBA Championship.
Gilbert owns several other teams in smaller leagues, including the NBA’s D-League. As you might guess, Gilbert and his wife Jennifer are heavily involved with philanthropic endeavors.
9. Stephen Ross ($7.6 Billion)
Stephen Ross is a real estate magnate first, philanthropist second, and sports team owner third. Ross has built a net worth of $7.6 billion while donating massive sums of cash to charity.
The University of Michigan alone has been the recipient of nearly $400 million in funds.
Ross initially purchased 50% of the Miami Dolphins in 2008 for $550 million.
The sale also included what is now Hard Rock Stadium and much of the land around the stadium.
Only one year later, Ross purchased an additional 45% of the team. It was making him a 95% holder of the team and the stadium.
Ross has since brought in celebrity minor-stakeholders in the club. These include the famous Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, and Miami favorites Marc Anthony and Gloria Estefan.
10. Robert Kraft ($6.9 Billion)
Kraft is most well-known as the owner of one of the most prolific sports franchises of the last 20 years, the New England Patriots.
Kraft has made almost $7 billion during his lifetime, although it’s his role as CEO of the Kraft Group that has brought him so much wealth.
It seems his desire to be the best has brought about his past successes.
Kraft has had his eyes since 1971 as a Patriots season ticket holder. He began buying land around the stadium in the 1980s. He made several bids to purchase the team from various ownership groups.
In 1994, Kraft’s dream of owning the New England Patriots became a reality. One of his first orders of business was getting a new stadium, and the Patriots sold out their first season with Kraft in the owner’s suite.
The Patriots have won six Super Bowls under Kraft’s ownership and were an absolute Dynasty for a dozen years.
As you can see, the 10 wealthiest people in sports haven’t necessarily gotten their start in athletics. However, it seems that these hardworking billionaires view the professional sporting landscape as a profitable endeavor and this will impact us as sports bettors since their decisions can make or break teams.
These owners get to hang out with fellow billionaires and celebrities in their luxury suites then go down on the field or court to pal around with some of the best athletes on the planet. That sounds like a pretty good gig to me.