Here are the teams that have sold since Steve Ballmer shocked the sports world and how much billionaires are paying for them

USA Today SportsSteve Ballmer helped reset the true value of sports franchises when he paid $US2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers.

The actual value of something is ultimately whatever somebody is willing to pay for it, just ask Steve Ballmer.

In 2014, Ballmer shocked many in the sports world when he paid $US2 billion for the Los Angles Clippers – nearly four times the team’s perceived value at the time – admitting that he was not in it to make a lot of money.

Ballmer’s enthusiastic wallet-first dive into the world of pro sports helped reset the market for what franchises are worth and what owners might expect when they start thinking about selling. Since that deal, it has become more common to see sale prices above $US1 billion, but there are also still relative deals to be had.

Below is a look at every pro team that has sold in the major North American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS), and the English Premier League, since Ballmer’s move, and how much the new owners paid. We have also included notable teams from other top leagues from around the world.

Most recent sales are first and values are the sale price or the valuation in cases where the new owner purchased less than 100% of the team. Forbes and Transfer Markt valuations are based on the most recent valuation prior to the team sale.


FC Cincinnati — $US150 million

Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesCarl Lindner III and MLS commissioner Don Garber.

Year: 2018

League: Major League Soccer

New Owner: Carl Linder III has been with the club since it was founded in 2015 and paid a $US150 million expansion fee in 2018 to join MLS.

Forbes valuation: $US223 million (the average value of an MLS franchise in 2017)


Carolina Panthers — $US2.2 billion

Year: 2018

League: National Football League

New Owner: David Tepper

Forbes valuation: $US2.3 billion


DC United — $US500 million

Patrick McDermott/Getty ImagesJason Levien and Wayne Rooney.

Year: 2018

League: Major League Soccer

New Owner: Minority investor Jason Levien and others purchased 78% of the club from Erick Thohir based on a $US500 million valuation. Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is the largest shareholder in the group, according to Bloomberg.

Forbes valuation: $US230 million


MLS Miami franchise — $US25 million

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesDavid Beckham and Jorge Mas.

Year: 2018

League: Major League Soccer

New Owner: David Beckham was given the option to buy an expansion team for $US25 million as part of his playing contract with MLS. He has since added partners, including local businessman Jorge Mas, Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son, and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure to secure land for a new privately funded stadium.

Forbes valuation: $US223 million (the average value of an MLS franchise in 2017)


Carolina Hurricanes — $US500 million

Year: 2018

League: National Hockey League

New Owner: Tom Dundon purchased 52% of the team based on a valuation of close to $US500 million, according to several reports.

Forbes valuation: $US370 million


MLS Nashville franchise — $US150 million

Year: 2017

League: Major League Soccer

New Owner: A group led by John Ingram.

Forbes valuation: $US223 million (the average value of an MLS franchise in 2017)


Miami Marlins — $US1.2 billion

Year: 2017

League: Major League Baseball

New Owners: A group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter

Forbes valuation: $US1.0 billion


Houston Rockets — $US2.2 billion

Year: 2017

League: National Basketball Association

New Owner: Tilman Fertitta

Forbes valuation: $US1.65 billion


Southampton FC — $US344 million

Year: 2017

League: English Premier League

New Owner: Gao Jisheng purchased an 80% stake in the team based on a valuation of $US344 million, according to The Guardian.

Transfer Markt valuation: $US278 million


Arizona Coyotes — $US240 million

Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesAndrew Barroway.

Year: 2017

League: National Hockey League

New Owner: Andrew Barroway bought out his partners’ 49% stake in the team based on a valuation of $US240 million, according to Forbes.

Forbes valuation: $US240 million


AC Milan — $US828 million

Studio Buzzi/AC Milan via Getty ImagesYonghong Li.

Year: 2017

League: Serie A

New Owner: A group led by Yonghong Li.

Forbes valuation: $US825 million


Olympique de Marseille — $US45 million

Year: 2016

League: Ligue 1

New Owner: Frank McCourt

Forbes valuation: $US84 million


West Bromwich Albion FC — $US284 million

Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

Year: 2016

League: English Premier League

New Owner: Guochuan Lai purchased an 88% stake in the club.

Transfer Markt valuation: $US108 million


Vegas Golden Knights — $US500 million

Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesBill Foley.

Year: 2016

League: National Hockey League

New Owner: Bill Foley was awarded an NHL expansion team and paid a fee of $US500 million for the team.

Forbes valuation: $US500 million


OGC Nice — $US25 million

OGC NiceChien Lee.

Year: 2016

League: Ligue 1

New Owner: Alex Zheng and Chien Lee purchased 80% of the club.

Transfer Markt valuation: $US71 million


Inter Milan — $US386 million

Year: 2016

League: Serie A

New Owner: Zhang Jindong purchased a 70% stake in the club based on a $US386 million valuation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Forbes valuation: $US559 million


Swansea City AFC — $US144 million

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesSteve Kaplan (left) and Jason Levien.

Year: 2016

League: English Premier League

New Owner: Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien purchased a majority stake in the team based on a valuation of $US144 million.

Transfer Markt valuation: $US134 million


Everton FC — $US229 million

Alex Livesey/Getty ImagesFarhad Moshiri.

Year: 2016

League: English Premier League

New Owner: Farhad Moshiri purchased a majority ownership of the club based on a $US229 million valuation.

Transfer Markt valuation: $US344 million


RCD Espanyol — $US35 million

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Year: 2015

League: La Liga

New Owner: Chen Yansheng of the Rastar Group purchased a majority share in the club based on a valuation of $US35 million.

Transfer Markt valuation: $US68 million


Atlanta Hawks — $US730 million

Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesTony Ressler.

Year: 2015

League: National Basketball Association

New Owner: A group led by Tony Ressler. Some reports put the sale price at $US850 million, however, Forbes argues that the price was much lower.

Forbes valuation: $US825 million


Minnesota United — $US100 million

Minnesota UnitedBill McGuire.

Year: 2015

League: Major League Soccer

New Owner: A group led by Bill McGuire paid an MLS expansion fee of $US100 million.

Forbes valuation: $US185 million (average MLS franchise value in 2016)


LAFC — $US110 million

Charley Gallay/Getty Images for LAFCTom Penn, Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber

Year: 2014

League: Major League Soccer

New Owner: A group led by Larry Berg, Tom Penn, Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber.

Forbes valuation: $US185 million (average MLS franchise value in 2016)


Valencia CF — $US165 million

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty ImagesPeter Lim

Year: 2014

League: La Liga

New Owner: Peter Lim purchased 70.4% of the team, according to ESPN.

Transfer Markt valuation: $US178 million


Buffalo Bills — $US1.4 billion

Year: 2014

League: National Football League

New Owner: Kim and Terry Pegula

Forbes valuation: $US935 million


New York Islanders — $US485 million

Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesScott Malkin, Charles Wang and Jon Ledecky.

Year: 2014

League: National Hockey League

New Owner: Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin

Forbes valuation: $US300 million


Los Angeles Clippers — $US2.0 billion

Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Year: 2014

League: National Basketball Association

New Owner: Steve Ballmer

Forbes valuation: $US575 million


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