It must be nice to be a billionaire. You could literally have anything you want. For many billionaires, that means a professional sports franchise. What would you buy? An NFL team? An NBA team? An NHL or MLB team? How about a major league soccer team?
The 20 richest controlling owners of professional sports teams have a combined net worth of around $426 billion.
From Indian cricket teams and English football teams, to American basketball teams and everything in between, these are the 8 richest professional sport team owners…
#8. Joseph Tsai Net Worth: $10.5 billion
Team: NBA's Brooklyn Nets
Joseph Tsai is part of the group that founded Alibaba in 1999. Today he is the company's second-largest individual shareholder, after Jack Ma. He bought the Nets in September 2019. He also owns the MLS franchise Los Angeles FC.
#7. David Tepper Net Worth: $12 billion
Team: NFL's Carolina Panthers
Source: Hedge Fund
Tepper earned his fortune as the founder of the hedge fund Appaloosa Management. He struck out on his own in 1993 after being repeatedly passed over for partnership at Goldman Sachs. He owns the Carolina Panthers NFL team and the Charlotte FC MLS soccer team. Another fun fact about David Tepper? He bought his former Goldman boss' beloved house out in the Hamptons and tore it down basically out of spite.
#6. Steven Cohen Net Worth: $14 billion
Team: MLB's New York Mets
Source: Hedge Fund
In 2012 Cohen purchased a 4% stake in the New York Mets. In September 2020 he spent $2.35 billion to increase his stake in the team up to 95%. Cohen took on a team that regularly loses money. The Mets typically lose about $90 million in a normal season. In 2020, the year of purchase, and the season impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Mets' losses topped $200 million.
#5. Roman Abramovich Net Worth: $18 billion
Team: Chelsea FC
Abramovich is a widely-known figure in Israel and Russia for his involvement in politics and business. Most people around the world know him as the owner of the English Premier League team, Chelsea F.C. Because of his considerable wealth, Abramovich has at times been the richest person in Israel. He is also the tenth-richest Russian and the 113th-richest person in the world.
#4. Dan Gilbert Net Worth: $40 billion
Team: NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers
Source: Quicken Loans/Rocket Loans
Dan Gilbert earned his fortune as the founder and CEO of Quicken Loans (originally called Rock Financial). Quicken Loans now operates under the umbrella firm of Rocket Companies. Rocket generated $5.1 billion in revenue and just under $900 million in net income in 2019. In the first half of 2020 alone, Rocket facilitated $124 billion in new mortgages. Gilbert is the owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA G League's Canton Charge, and the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters.
#3. Francois Pinault Net Worth: $47 billion
Team: Stade Rennais FC
Source: Luxury Goods
Francois Pinault is the founder and majority shareholder of fashion conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR). Kering owns prestigious fashion houses like Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent. In addition to Kering, Pinault separately owns Artemis S.A., which owns Converse shoes, Samsonite luggage, Château Latour, the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado, as well as Christie's auction house.
#2. Mukesh Ambani Net Worth: $75 billion
Team: Mumbai Indians (cricket)
Source: Reliance Industries
Mukesh Ambani earned his net worth thanks to Reliance Industries, a Fortune 500 company. He is chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder. In 2008, Ambani received the title of "The World's Richest Sports Team Owner" after he purchased the Indian Premier League cricket team the Mumbai Indians for $111.9 million. He is also the founder of the Indian Super League, a football league in India.
#1. Steve Ballmer Net Worth: $91 billion
Team: NBA's Los Angeles Clippers
Steve Ballmer's net worth is derived from his 333.3 million shares of Microsoft stock. Over the years he has sold $3.4 billion worth of stock and collected roughly $4.5 billion from dividends. Despite being a multi-multi-billionaire, Ballmer still drives a Ford in honor of his father who was a Ford manager. Ballmer had been interested in buying a basketball team since 2008 when he was part of a group that unsuccessfully tried to acquire the Seattle Supersonics. In 2012, he also tried to buy the Sacramento Kings. Ballmer would finally get the opportunity he'd been waiting for in 2014, when Clippers owner Donald Sterling was given a lifetime ban from the NBA following a leaked racist conversation. Sterling's wife pushed to have the LA Clippers sold, and Ballmer stepped in with an offer of $2 billion. The offer was accepted soon thereafter, and Ballmer became the new owner of the Clippers.