The 10 richest billionaire franchise owners in American sports

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Jackson Thompson
·5 min read
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Jerry Jones and Stanley Kroenke
Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
  • Professional sports are one of the most lucrative businesses in America

  • Individual teams in any of the four major sports leagues can be worth billions of dollars.

  • We looked at which owners of those teams are the richest by net worth.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

10. Stephen Ross - Miami Dolphins - $7.6 billion

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Stephen Ross bought The Miami Dolphins for $1 billion in 2009.

Ross built his fortune as the founder, chairman, and majority owner of The Related Companies, a global real estate development firm he started in 1972. He is worth an estimated $7 billion, according to Forbes.

9. Shahid Khan - Jacksonville Jaguars - $8 billion

AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Shahid Khan bought The Jacksonville Jaguars for $750 million in 2011, fulfilling his self-proclaimed dream of owning an American sports team.

Khan, the owner of Flex-N-Gate, an American automotive company, is worth an estimated $8 billion, according to Forbes. They even named him Face of The American Dream in 2012.

Khan came to America at the age of 16 from Lahore, Pakistan, to attend The University of Illinois, where his love for American football initially manifested. In 2013, two years after buying the Jaguars, Khan purchased the Premier League soccer team Fulham F.C. He also led the partnership to have the Jaguars play one game a year in London in 2013 as a centerpiece in The NFL's International Series.

8. Stanley Kroenke - Los Angeles Rams - $8.2 billion

AP Photo/Steven Senne

Stanley Kroenke bought the St. Louis Rams for $750 million in 2010 and moved them to Los Angeles in 2016.

The Rams are an asset of Kroenke's multi-sport empire Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which includes The Denver Nuggets, The Colorado Avalanch, and Arsenal F.C. He is worth an estimated $8.2 billion, according to Forbes.

As part of the deal to buy the Rams in 2010, Kroenke had to give up control of his other teams to his son Josh Kroenke.

7. Jerry Jones - Dallas Cowboys - $8.7 billion

jerry jones
Ron Jenkins/AP Images

Jerry Jones bought The Dallas Cowboys for $140 million in 1989, and the team has grown to over $5.5 billion in value under his ownership.

Jones built his initial fortune through an oil and gas exploration business in Arkansas, Jones Oil and Land Lease. He is worth an estimated $8.7 billion, according to Forbes.

Jones is one of the few owners in sports to take on general manager responsibilities of his team. To his credit, Jones is also one of the few owners to boast playing experience of his own as a running back on Arkansas' 1964 national champion team. There, he was teammates with Jimmy Johnson, whom Jones hired to be his first head coach after buying The Cowboys.

6. Hasso Plattner - San Jose Sharks - $8.9 billion

Hasso Plattner
Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

Hasso Plattner has been the San Jose Sharks' majority owner since 2010 but bought out all the team shares in 2013.

Plattner is the co-founder of SAP SE software company. He has been chairman of the supervisory board of SAP SE since May 2003 and is worth an estimated $8.9 billion, according to Forbes.

5. Philip Anschutz - Los Angeles Kings - $10.1 billion

philip anschutz
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Philip Anschutz led the group that bought the Los Angeles Kings in 1995 and is the principal owner.

Anschutz is one of California's most powerful businessmen, owning companies in industries like energy, railroads, real estate, sports, newspapers, movies, theaters, arenas, and music. He is also a minority owner of The Los Angeles Lakers, the owner of The Staples Center, and the music festival Coachella.

Anschutz is worth an estimated $10.1 billion, according to Forbes.

4. Joseph Tsai - Brooklyn Nets - $11.8 billion

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Joseph Tsai purchased an initial stake in The Brooklyn Nets in 2017 but took over the rest of the team in 2019 for a total of $2.35 billion – the highest amount ever paid for a sports franchise.

Tsai is the co-founder and executive vice-chairman of the Chinese multinational technology company Alibaba Group and is worth an estimated $11.8 billion, according to Forbes.

3. David Tepper - Carolina Panthers - $14.5 billion

AP Photo/Mike McCarn

David Tepper bought The Carolina Panthers in 2018 for an NFL record of $2.275 billion.

The hedge-fund manager became the richest man in the NFL when he purchased the team, as he's worth an estimated $14.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Tepper also made Panthers head coach Matt Rhule the highest-paid coach in the NFL when he signed him to a seven-year, $60 million deal in January of 2020.

2. Steve Cohen - New York Mets - $16 billion

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David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Steve Cohen became the newest member of the billionaire sports owner club when he bought The New York Mets for $2.42 billion in September.

Cohen is a hedge fund manager and lifelong Mets fan who is worth an estimated $16 billion, according to Forbes. He made a bold impression on fans and the media when he said he would be disappointed if the Mets didn't win a World Series in 3-5 years' in his introductory press conference.

Cohen's business life has also been the subject of controversy. Cohen was recently forced to temporarily deactivate his Twitter account after his family received threats due to backlash over the GameStop stock buying frenzy in January.

1. Steve Ballmer - Los Angeles Clippers - $76.3 billion

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers for a then-record $2 billion in 2014.

The former Microsoft CEO's net worth has increased from $41.2 billion in 2014 to $76.3 since buying the team, according to Forbes. That makse him the richest owner in sports by an incomparable margin, but it also makes him worth more than the next six figures on this list combined.

The former tech executive has become notorious for his loud, expressive, fan-like behavior at games. He doesn't hold back the emotional weight he puts behind his team's succes like a stereotypical reserved billionaire.

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