Who Are The Richest Sports Team Owners?

By on October 29, 2015 in ArticlesHow Much Does

Life as a sports team owner ain't too bad. For one, just owning a team already means you're incredibly wealthy, and you have the chance to earn exponentially higher cash. You can win championships by helping craft a juggernaut, and you could potentially make hundreds of thousands of people happy.

Forbes recently released its list of the 400 richest Americans, and it features a few notable team owners. Naturally, that begs the question: just who are the richest owners in sports?

The highest sportsman on the list is actually not an owner at all. Nike co-founder, Phil Knight, made the Top 20 for the first time in nearly two decades. He's the 17th richest American, worth $27.8 billion. A big chunk of that net worth comes from the insane rise in Nike's stock price – it's gone up nearly 47% in the past year. Knight may not own a team, but he's a huge booster for the University of Oregon, donating money and uniforms to the school. Naturally, he's got a big lead over Under Armour's Kevin Plank, who has a net worth of $3.9 billion; but if Under Armour continues to grow, that lead could shrink quickly.

on day nine of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at the Hayward Field on June 30, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Getty Images

The next two wealthiest owners couldn't be more different: David Thomson is a part owner of True North Sports & Entertainment, who owns the Winnipeg Jets, and has a net worth of $23.8 billion. That makes him the richest man in Canada! Thomson, whose family began the popular news agency Thomson Reuters, has barely ever given an interview and remains mostly a silent investor in the Jets. On the other end of the spectrum, even despite their monumental collapse last postseason, the Los Angeles Clippers didn't cost Steve Ballmer much of his investment in the team. Ballmer, energetic as ever, purchased the Clips for $2 billion last year, and still has a net worth of $23.2 billion. He ranks as the 21st wealthiest American.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Not far behind is Paul Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers and 26th wealthiest American, with a net worth of $17.9 billion. Allen co-founded Microsoft along with Bill Gates when he was fresh out of college, nearly becoming a billionaire in the process. Eight years later, he developed Hodgkin's disease in 1983, and started living large after that.

Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos

The Lakers, Mets and Steelers may soon lay full claim to some of the wealthiest Americans, too. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (#35 on the list), who made his fortune via his NantWorks health empire, has a net worth of $12.4 billion. He's a minority owner in the Lakers, while hedge fund managers Steve Cohen (#37 and $12 billion) and David Tepper (#38 and $11.6 billion) are strong candidates to purchase majority stake in the Mets and Steelers, respectively.

After these five, what other team owners made the list?

Basketball

Mickey Arison, Miami Heat (t-60) – $7.7 billion

Rich DeVos, Orlando Magic (t-84) – $5.6 billion

Charles Dolan, New York Knicks and New York Rangers (t-114) – $4.7 billion

Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers (t-149) – $3.8 billion

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks (t-211) – $3 billion

Jim Irsay, Los Angeles Lakers (t-293) – $2.3 billion

Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves (t-358) – $1.9 billion

Marc Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks (t-358) – $1.9 billion

Football

Stan Kroenke, St. Louis Rams (t-63) – $7.6 billion; his wife is Wal-Mart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke, who has controlling ownership of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, and is worth $4.5 billion herself

Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins (71) – $6.7 billion

Shahid Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars (t-84) – $5.6 billion

Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys (t-94) – $5 billion

Robert Kraft, New England Patriots (108) – $4.8 billion

Bob McNair, Houston Texans (t-194) – $3.3 billion

Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens (t-203) – $3.2 billion

Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons, (t-268) – $2.5 billion

Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints (t-307) – $2.2 billion

Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins (t-327) – $2.1 billion

Denise York, San Francisco 49ers (t-358) – $1.9 billion

Baseball

Ted Lerner, Washington Nationals (t-86) – $5.5 billion

Michael Ilitch, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings (88) – $5.4 billion

John Henry, Boston Red Sox (t-307) – $2.2 billion

Mark Walter, Los Angeles Dodgers (t-307) – $2.2 billion

Arte Moreno, Los Angeles Angels (t-375) – $1.8 billion

Hockey

Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins (t-138) – $4 billion

Terry Pegula, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills (t-138) – $4 billion

Articles Written by Joey Held
If there's a story anywhere in the world of music, sports, or entertainment, Joey wants to tell it. He's been freelancing since 2010, and prior to that, he attended the University of Miami, where he double majored in broadcast journalism and sport administration. A Chicago native, Joey currently resides in Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter and Google+ and always feel free to suggest a song for his next karaoke performance.
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