It has been a tumultuous start to 2022 for Roman Abramovich, the soon-to-be-former owner of the Premier League’s Chelsea FC.
The U.K. government opted not to wait, seizing the club from him as it awaits a sale.
That alone knocks Abramovich out of the billionaire owner’s box.
For the first time in six years, he is not one of the world’s richest sports team owners.
And the future of the sports world looks promising as an influx of new revenue streams from crypto companies, gambling operators and sports data providers accelerate the recovery from pandemic-driven losses.
Thanks to Microsoft’s surging stock, the former CEO of the tech giant is 33% richer this year, worth an estimated $91.4 billion, moving him past Reliance Industries CEO and Mumbai Indians owner Mukesh Ambani (worth an estimated $90.7 billion) at least briefly.
Here are the ten richest sports team owners:
Net worths are as of March 11, 2022.
1. Steve Ballmer
Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Source of Wealth: Microsoft
Net Worth: $91.4 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: +33%)
Forbes estimates that the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, which the former Microsoft CEO purchased for a high $2 billion eight years ago, are now worth $3.3 billion. Not a bad return on investment. But it’s Microsoft’s stock that’s allowed Ballmer to amass such wealth: its shares have increased by more than 600% over the same time span, adding more than $65 billion to his net worth. In the last year, his net worth has increased by $22.7 billion.
2. Mukesh Ambani
Team: Mumbai Indians
Source of Wealth: diversified
Net Worth: $90.7 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: +7%)
The Indians, who are owned by Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani, are the toast of the Indian Premier League, having won a league-record five titles. Ambani’s ties to the sport could get even stronger since his organisation is rumoured to be bidding for the IPL’s broadcasting rights.
3. François Pinault
Team: Stade Rennais FC
Source of Wealth: luxury goods
Net Worth: $40.4 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: -4%)
Despite the fact that Pinault is still chasing Ligue 1 rivals Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain, who have won a combined 14 titles since he bought Stade Rennais FC in 1998, the entire French soccer landscape is poised to receive a massive cash influx because of Covid-19’s financial difficulties. CVC Capital Partners, a private equity group, is reportedly investing $1.6 billion in Ligue 1’s commercial arm.
4. Dietrich Mateschitz
Team: New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Racing, RB Leipzig
Source of Wealth: Red Bull
Net Worth: $27.4 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: +2%)
Mateschitz’s soccer clubs, which include the MLS’s New York Red Bulls and the German Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig, have had minor success. But it is in Formula 1 that he has found his crown gem. Last season, rising star Max Verstappen led Red Bull Racing to its first championship since 2013, ending Mercedes’ seven-year winning streak.
5. Daniel Gilbert
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Source of Wealth: Quicken Loans/Rocket Companies
Net Worth: $22 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: -58%)
Gilbert has lost more than half of his fortune due to a sharp drop in the stock price of Rocket Companies. This season, the Cavaliers have had better luck, with a chance to make the NBA playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left for Los Angeles in 2018.
6. Masayoshi Son
Team: Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
Source of Wealth: internet, telecoms
Net Worth: $21.3 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: -53%)
Son established SoftBank Group into a powerhouse conglomerate over the previous 40 years, backed by early successes with Yahoo and Alibaba, to name a few. In 2005, the firm added baseball to its portfolio by acquiring the Nippon Professional Baseball Hawks. Since then, the club has won seven Japan Series championships, making it one of the most successful in the league.
7. Steve Cohen
Team: New York Mets
Source of Wealth: hedge funds
Net Worth: $17.4 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: +9%)
The Mets have replaced the Yankees as New York’s top spenders under Cohen, baseball’s richest individual owner. The Mets have the second-highest payroll in the league, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers, with a total of $252 million. Cohen’s fortune also influenced MLB’s most recent collective bargaining agreement, with a new luxury-tax tier called the “Cohen Tax” informally.
8. David Tepper
Team: Carolina Panthers
Source of Wealth: hedge funds
Net Worth: $16.7 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: +15%)
Under Tepper, who bought the Panthers in 2018, the team has yet to win a game. However, rising media deals have already paid off handsomely for Tepper: the Panthers are currently worth an estimated $2.91 billion, $600 million more than Tepper paid for them.
9. Robert Pera
Team: Memphis Grizzlies
Source of Wealth: wireless networking gear
Net Worth: $14.6 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: -20%)
Pera’s Grizzlies are the NBA’s least valuable club, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t reaped the rewards of skyrocketing franchise values. The Grizzlies are currently worth an estimated $1.5 billion after his $377 million purchase in 2012.
10. Philip Anschutz
Team: Los Angeles Kings, LA Galaxy
Source of Wealth: investments
Net Worth: $10.9 billion (1-YEAR CHANGE: +8%)
Anschutz won the Stanley Cup twice in the 2010s, and it appears like his Kings are ready to make another run after a three-year hiatus. He sold his 27% ownership in the Los Angeles Lakers to Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and Mark Walters in July for $1.2 billion, according to Forbes, but he still owns Crypto.com Arena.
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