Every person on this years’ edition of Forbes Magazine’s world billionaire rankings owns something extravagant like a yacht, an extensive art collection, helicopters, or even a garage full of cars with unpronounceable names … but only a select few can own a major sports team.Wouldn’t owning a sports team be fantasy sports come to life, but infinitely better? Instead of slaving away on your computer every night, you could hire someone to manage all that stuff while you hang out in a luxury box eating fresh caught seafood. The fantasy sports comparison rings even more true for owning a Major League Baseball team, which has no salary cap.
Weirdly enough, only three people on this list own a baseball team, and all of them are technically partial ownerships. Soccer has become the favoured game of billionaires, as more and more non-American businessmen move their way up the money list.
Microsoft’s Paul Allen remains the top American sports billionaire owner, but he’s not the richest NBA owner since Russian madman Mikhail Prokhorov took over the New Jersey Nets.
In order to make this list, each individual had to own a substantial chunk of a major sports team, so league owners and commissioners didn’t make the list. (All data via Forbes’ list of the World’s Billionaires.)
Estimated Net Worth: $3.2 billion
How he got his fortune: Investments, mostly dealing with currency. Benefited heavily from 'Black Wednesday' in 1992.
Owns: Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Team's Success: 2008 Leauge Cup Winner, League Cup Runner-Up in 2002 and 2009.
Estimated Net Worth: $4.2 billion
How he got his fortune: Co-runs Alticor, which is the parent group of Amway and Quixtar among other. Alticor specialises in selling health, and cleaning products.
Owns: Orlando Magic
Team's Success: Three straight division titles (08-10), NBA Finals Appearances in 1995 and 2009.
Estimated Net Worth: $4.5 billion
How He Got His Fortune: CEO of Tele-Communication for 24 years, he has held other high ranking positions within media since.
Co-owns: Atlanta Braves (with Liberty Media)
Team's Success: The Braves dominated the 90s before he was around, but since he has taken the reins with a bunch of other people, Atlanta has earned one playoff berth (2010).
Estimated Net Worth: $4.6 billion
How He Got His Fortune: Former President of Nintendo, Inc. He was one the big players from Nintendo's transformation from dealing with playing cards to saving various princesses.
Team owned: Seattle Mariners (He has transferred power to Nintendo of America, but he is still recognised as the owner amongst board members.)
Team's Success: No World Series appearances ever, but Seattle did set the regular season record for most wins in a season with 114 in 2001. They have reached the playoffs in 1995, 1997, 2000, and 2001.
Estimated Net Worth: $4.9 billion
How He Got His Fortune: Investments from inheritance. His father owned Material Service which would eventually merge with General Dynamics becoming the worlds largest distributor of building materials.
Has Stakes In: New York Yankees, Chicago Bulls
Teams' Successes: A lot. The Yankees alone have won seven championships and eleven pennants since he bought a share.
Estimated Net Worth: $5 billion
How He Got His Fortune: Red Bull energy drinks.
Sports Teams Owned: Red Bull Racing (F1), Team Red Bull (NASCAR), FC Red Bull Salzburg (European Football), Red Bull New York (MLS).
Teams' Success: The New York Red Bulls won their division last year, but that was later rescinded due to the players all having sprouted wings.
Estimated Net Worth: $5 billion
How He Got His Fortune: Hedge funds.
Sports Teams Co-owned: Pittsburgh Steelers (minority partner)
Team's Success: Went to the Super Bowl in 2011, won the Super Bowl in 2008, controversially won the Super Bowl in 2005.
Estimated Net Worth: $5.5 billion
How He Got His Fortune: Started a grocery store, Magnit, that copied Walmart's success (and slogan.)
Team Owned: FC Krasnodar
Team's Success: None really, but they've only existed since 2007.
Estimated Net Worth: $5.9 billion
How He Got His Fortune: Inherited his father's Carnival Cruises company.
Team Owned: Miami Heat
Team's Success: Won the NBA title in 2006 and the LeBron James sweepstakes last summer.
Estimated Net Worth: $7.8 billion
How He Got His Fortune: Real estate and cable. The company he heads, Mediaset, owns more than half of Italy's television channels. He's also the Prime Minister of Italy.
Team Owned: AC Milan
Team's Success: While owning the team, AC Milan has won the UEFA Super Cup twice, the Italian Super Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League once.
Estimated Net Worth: $13 billion
How He Earned His Fortune: Co-founder of Microsoft
Teams Owned: Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trailblazers
Teams' Success: Seattle made it to the playoffs last year due to being picked out of the hat that is the NFC West, but that Marshawn Lynch run was a rousing success alone. They should have won Super Bowl XL. The Trailblazers are looking good now, but have been typically lost in the shuffle of the stacked Western Conference.
Estimated Net Worth: $13.4 billion
How He Earned His Fortune: Investments, steel, and oil.
Team Owned: Chelsea FC
Team's Success: UEFA Champions League winners in 07-08, Football League Cup winners in 04-05, and 06-07, FA Cup winners for the past two seasons, reigning Premier League champions.
Estimated Net Worth: $16 billion
How Earned His Fortune: financial sector, steel, and coal.
Team Owned: FC Shakhtar
Team's Success: Most dominant soccer team in the Ukraine by far, winning five league championships in the decade alone. They also won the 2009 UEFA Cup, and are in the quarterfinals this year.
Estimated Net Worth: $16 billion
How He Earned His Fortune: Investments in metals and other ventures.
Team Owned: New Jersey Nets
Team's Success: He's been the Nets owner for a brief period of time, but acquiring Deron Williams was a great move and should make the team much more attractive to potential free agents.
Estimated Net Worth: $27 billion
How He Got His Fortune: He's the chairman of Reliance Industries, the largest oil company in all of India. His recent deal with BP netted him a cool $7.2 billion.
Team Owned: The Mumbai Indians, a cricket team in the Indian Premier League.
Team's Successes: They lost in the IPL Championship game last year, but the league has only been around since 2008.
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