Buying an NFL team is a crazy expensive endeavor. For the money it takes to buy, own, and run an NFL franchise, you could own several mega yachts, a fleet of private jets and a private island in the Bahamas. But the people below decided to buy an NFL franchise with that money. Let's look at how each NFL team owner got rich enough to purchase a professional football franchise:
#15. Jeff Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles — $2 billion
Lurie bought the Eagles for $195 million. The Lurie family made their money from the General Cinema movie theatre chain founded by Jeffrey's grandfather. They increased their fortune by buying bottling companies and clothing stores.
#14. Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins — $2.3 billion
Snyder and his sister started a direct marketing and advertising company specializing in doctor's offices and hospitals. When this business took off, they branched out into telemarketing. Snyder also owns three sports radio stations in DC. He purchased Dick Clark Productions and runs a production company with Tom Cruise.
#13. Robert McNair, Houston Texans — $2.4 billion
McNair and his partners bought this expansion team for $700 million. McNair made his billions when he sold his power plant company to Enron in 1999.
#12. Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts — $2.7 billion
Jim's dad, Robert, built a $150 million fortune in heating and air-conditioning companies. He bought the Los Angeles Rams for $19 million in 1972. He then traded teams with Carroll Rosenbloom ending up with the Baltimore Colts. That bit of hijinks should have clued Colts fans into Irsay's shenanigans, maybe they wouldn't have been so shocked when he packed the team up and moved them in the middle of the night from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984.
#11. Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints — $2.8 billion
Benson bought the franchise when he found out the teams was in talks to move to Jacksonville. Benson owns multiple car dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio. Through the success there, he began to invest in and buy local banks, forming Benson Financial, which funded his purchase of the Saints. He sold Benson Financial in 1996 for $440 million. Benson passed away on March 15, 2018. He was 90-years-old.
#10.(TIE) Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland Browns — $4 billion
Haslam bought the Browns from Randy Lerner in 2012 for $1 billion. Haslam had to sell his minority interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers to buy the Browns per NFL rules not allowing owners to have ownership stakes in more than one team. Haslam is the CEO of the Pilot Flying J truck stop company.
#10.(TIE) Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons — $4 billion
Blank co-founded The Home Depot in 1978. Blank is worth $4 billion – a far cry from the very early days of The Home Depot. Blank and his partner would stand in the parking lot handing out $1 bills to try and get customers to go in and take a look around their store.
#10.(TIE) Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens — $4 billion
Bisciotti was a minority owner of the team since 2000 until he became the full owner in 2004 in a $325 million deal with Art Model. The total amount he paid was $600 million. Bisciotti founded Aerotek in a basement with his cousin. This later became the parent company of the Allegis Group, which owns Aerotek and TEK systems, engineering and technology staffing firms. He is a recruiter, basically.
#7. Terrence and Kim Pegula, Buffalo Bills — $4.6 billion
After graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Engineering, Pegula went to work for the Getty Oil company. In 1983, at the age of 32, Terrence branched out on his own by founding an oil and gas exploration company he named East Resources. Over the next several decades, East Resources grew into an incredibly successful company. In 2010, Terrence sold off most of the company's assets to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.7 billion. He sold another chunk of assets to American Energy in 2014 for $1.75 billion. On September 9, 2014, it was announced that a group of investors led by Terry had won the right to purchase the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise for $1.4 billion from the estate of former owner Ralph Wilson.
#6. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys — $5.6 billion
Jones bought the Cowboys for $140 million in 1989. He is one of the most visible (and eccentric) owners in pro sports. In 2009, Cowboys Stadium (now called AT&T Stadium in another multi-billion dollar deal) opened at a cost of $1.3 billion to build. Jones made his money in oil in the 1970s and '80s. His net worth is $5.6 billion.
#5. Robert Kraft, New England Patriots — $6.2 billion
Kraft bought the Patriots in 1995 for $172 million. Kraft got his start in his father-in-law's packaging material company. Not exactly sexy stuff. Eventually he bought the company and merged it with a packaging and recycling company he had founded called International Forest Products. Robert Kraft's net worth is $6.2 billion.
#4. Shahid Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars — $7 billion
Khan was born in Pakistan and moved to the U.S. when he was 16-years old to study engineering at the University of Illinois. Post-college he went to work for Flex-N-Gate, an auto parts company making bumpers, as an engineering manager. Khan saw how inefficiently the manufacturing process was, streamlined it and started his own company – Bumper Works. Soon after he bought Flex-N-Gate which, since the 1980s has been the sole bumper supplier for Toyota.
#3. Stephen M. Ross, Miami Dolphins — $7.6 billion
Ross is a tax attorney turned real estate developer who invested in affordable housing, then sold them to wealthy investors as tax shelters. His projects include the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. He is worth $7.6 billion.
#2. Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles Rams — $7.7 billion
Kroenke is a real estate developer who owns properties around the country. Many of his developments are anchored by Wal-Marts. This isn't a surprise, he is married to Anna Walton, whose father Bud co-founded Wal-Mart with his brother Sam. Kroenke is worth $7.7 billion today. In 2016, Kroenke moved the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles where he intends to build a massive stadium complex in the heart of Inglewood.
#1. Paul Allen, Seattle Seahawks — $19 billion
Paul Allen is a co-founder of Microsoft. With a net worth of $19 billion, he is by far the NFL's richest team owner.