If you want to own a major league sports team in the United States you better be prepared to fork over hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.
The Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are both valued at $3.2 billion according to Forbes. Dozens of other sports teams are worth more than $500 million on the open market.
That means you need a lot of money in your bank account if you want to take control of a team in one of America’s 4 major sports leagues: NFL, MLB, NBA, and the NHL.
The top two team owners are both from Microsoft (former CEO Steve Ballmer & Co-Founder Paul Allen). Other teams owners on our list run successful companies outside of their respective sports.
To be included on our list every businessperson needs to have a net worth of at least $3 billion.
Here are the 24 wealthiest owners of American sports teams.
Net Worth: $23.5 billion
Team(s): Los Angeles Lakers
Steve Ballmer earned his billions as Bill Gates’ right-hand-man at Microsoft. Ballmer currently owns more Microsoft stock than Gates. He is also a 4% owner in Twitter, along with various other ventures.
Net Worth: $17.5 billion
Team(s): Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers
League(s): NFL and NBA
Paul Allen and Bill Gates worked together to found Microsoft. While he left the company well before Gates stepped down as CEO, his ownership in the company makes him the second most wealthy team owner on our list.
Allen owns various institutes that focus on the brain, artificial intelligence, cell science, and various other areas of scientific interest.
Net Worth: $12 billion
Team(s): Miami Dolphins
Stephen Ross is the founder of Related, a fully integrated and diversified real estate development company. Its business includes development, acquisitions, management, finance, marketing and sales.
Headquartered in New York City, Related has offices and real estate developments in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, South Florida, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai.
Net Worth: $9.7 billion
Team(s): Los Angeles Kings
Phil Anschutz made his billions by acquiring land rich with oil and then launching a railroad and telecommunications empire. He eventually ventured into the entertainment industry.
He was responsible for merging Southern Pacific and Union Pacific into a single company.
The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is a sporting and music entertainment presenter and a subsidiary of The Anschutz Corporation. It is the owner of entertainment venues, and under AEG Live the world’s second largest presenter of live music and entertainment events after Live Nation.
Net Worth: $7.7 billion
Team(s): Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Rams
League(s): NBA, NHL, NFL
Stan Kroenke founded the Kroenke Group in 1983, a real estate development firm that has built numerous shopping centers and apartment buildings. After marrying Ann Walton Kroenke (daughter of Walmart co-founder James Walton), he has been in the special position to develop many of the plazas near Wal-Mart stores.
Kroenke gobbles up sports teams like they are candy through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises.
Along with the teams already mentioned he also owns the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth and Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids,
Net Worth: $7.6 billion
Team(s): Brooklyn Nets
Mikhail Prokhorov earned his early fortune by manipulating nickel markets in the un-regulated privatization of former state-controlled industries after the collapse of the USSR
CBS’ 60 Minutes interviewed Prokhorov and alleged the following:
Kremlin leaders gave him what amounts to an insiders opportunity to buy one of the state’s most valuable assets. It was acquired from the Kremlin in a so-called auction for the measly sum of a few hundred million dollars in a process that even Prokhorov’s business partner admits wasn’t perfect, and probably not even legal under Western standards. But it was legal in Russia.
During the interview, Russian business correspondent Yulia Latynina stated about the auction of Norlisk Nickel, “Yes, it was rigged. But, it cannot be explained in normal economic terms to an outsider, especially an American. You had robber barons, we have oligarchs.”
Net Worth: $7.1 billion
Team(s): Miami Heat
Micky Arison is the son of Ted Arison, co-founder of Carnival Corporation. He inherited his fortune from his dad.
Arison owns two 200 foot yachts which he uses as homes.
He attended the University of Miami but dropped out.
Net Worth: $5.9 billion
Team(s): Jacksonville Jaguars
Khan worked at the automotive manufacturing company Flex-N-Gate while attending the University of Illinois. In 1978, he started Bumper Works, which made car bumpers for customized pickup trucks and body shop repairs.
In 1980 he bought Flex-N-Gate from his former employer Charles Gleason Butzow, bringing Bumper Works into the fold. Khan grew the company so that it supplied bumpers for the Big Three automakers.
His bumper empire has now grown to company an estimated $3 billion in revenue and manufactures parts for vehicle manufacturers all over the world.
Net Worth: $5.5 billion
Team(s): Washington Nationals
In 1952, Lerner borrowed $250 from his wife and founded the real estate company Lerner Enterprises in Rockville, Maryland.
Lerner Enterprises is currently the largest private landowner in the Washington, D.C. region.
Among the Lerner Enterprises ventures is a partnership in Chelsea Piers, a 30-acre sports and entertainment complex on the Hudson River in New York City; the Tysons II commercial development; shopping centers including White Flint and Dulles Town Center; and thousands of homes and apartments, along with numerous office buildings.
Net Worth: $5.4 billion
Team(s): Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings
League(s): MLB, NHL
Pizza Pizza! Ilitch started his empire with the creation of a pizza chain called Little Caesars Pizza Treat in Garden City, Michigan. His restaurant chain would eventually open thousands of locations all over the world.
In 1999, the Ilitches established Ilitch Holdings, Inc. to provide their various enterprises with professional and technical services.
Net Worth: $5 billion
Team(s): New York Knicks
League(s): NBA, NHL
Charles F. Dolan is an American billionaire and the founder of Cablevision and HBO. Through supervoting shares, Dolan also controls Cablevision, AMC Networks, and The Madison Square Garden Company.
Net Worth: $5 billion
Team(s): Dallas Cowboys
When he graduated from college in 1965 Jerry Jones was hired as an executive vice president at Modern Security Life of Springfield, Missouri, his father’s insurance company.
He eventually decided to strike out on his own and managed to fail at several business ventures.
At one point Jones turned down the chance to own the American Football League’s San Diego Chargers.
Eventually Jones founded a very successful oil and gas exploration business in Arkansas, Jones Oil and Land Lease, which became successful.
His privately held company currently performs natural resource prospecting.
Net Worth: $4.9 billion
Team(s): Cleveland Cavaliers
Dan Gilbert is the founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans. He is also the operator of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio and chairman of Rock Gaming, which opened its first Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland in May 2012.
Net Worth: $4.8 billion
Team(s): New England Patriots
Robert Kenneth Kraft is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Kraft Group, a diversified holding company with assets in paper and packaging, sports and entertainment, real estate development and a private equity portfolio.
His sports holdings also include Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution, and the stadium in which both the Patriots and Revolution play, Gillette Stadium.
Net Worth: $4.7 billion
Team(s): Orlando Magic
Richard M. DeVos, Sr. is an American businessman, co-founder of Amway along with Jay Van Andel (company restructured as Alticor in 2000), and owner of the Orlando Magic NBA basketball team.
Net Worth: $4.6 billion
Team(s): San Francisco Giants
Charles and his brother Rupert Johnson, Jr. served as Chairman at Franklin Resources, a mutual fund company started by Rupert Sr. in 1947.
Johnson is currently principal owner of the MLB San Francisco Giants, although he leaves team control duties to the head of the ownership group, CEO Larry Baer.
Net Worth: $4 billion
Team(s): Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres
Terrence M. “Terry” Pegula is an American businessman who holds business interests in natural gas development, real estate, entertainment and professional sports, including full ownership of the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills.
Net Worth: $3.7 billion
Team(s): Boston Bruins
Jacobs owns and operates the business founded by his father and uncles, Delaware North. Delaware North is a global hospitality and food service business headquartered in Buffalo, NY. The company operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment industries.
Delaware North also owns and manages TD Garden, home to the Bruins and the Boston Celtics. It was paid for with Jacobs’ own funds.
Net Worth: $3.3 billion
Team(s): Detroit Pistons
Tom Gores is an American businessman and investor.
He is the founder of Platinum Equity, a private equity firm with headquarters in Beverly Hills.
Net Worth: $3.3 billion
Team(s): Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban made his billions when he founded Audionet in 1995 with fellow Indiana University alumnus Todd Wagner. The company grew to more than 330 employees by 1999 and reported revenue of $13.5 million for the second quarter. After successfully live-streaming the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the company was purchased by Yahoo! for $5.7 billion in stock that same year.
After the sale of Broadcast.com, Cuban diversified his wealth to avoid exposure to a market crash.
Cuban is now owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks , Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures, and is the chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV.
You can see him every Friday night on the hit TV series ‘Shark Tank.’
Net Worth: $3.3 billion
Team(s): Houston Texans
Robert McNairs founded the cogeneration company Cogen Technologies and sold it to Enron in 1999. Today, McNair retains ownership of power plants in New York and West Virginia.
McNair also serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The McNair Group, a financial and real estate firm that is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
He is also the owner of Palmetto Partners, Ltd., a private investment company that manages the McNairs’ public and private equity investments, and is Chairman of The McNair Foundation.
In June 2000, McNair formed a biotechnology investment firm, Cogene Biotech Ventures, where he serves as company chairman.
Net Worth: $3.3 billion
Team(s): New York Giants
Joan Tisch is an American socialite and heiress.
She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and billionaire heir to the Tisch family fortune through the Loews Corporation, which remains under family control.
Net Worth: $3.2 billion
Team(s): Edmonton Oilers
Daryl Allan Katz is a Canadian businessman, investor, and philanthropist.
The Edmonton-based Katz is founder and chairman of the Katz Group of Companies, one of Canada’s largest privately owned enterprises, with operations in the pharmacy, sports & entertainment, and real estate development sectors.
Katz Group owns the Edmonton Oilers, and is leading the development of Rogers Place arena and the Ice District.
Net Worth: $3 billion
Team(s): Baltimore Ravens
Stephen J. Bisciotti founded a family of technical staffing companies known as Allegis Group, which owns Aerotek and TEKsystems.