The World's Richest Sports Owners 2023 – Forbes

Since taking over as owner of the New York Mets in 2020, Steve Cohen has sent shockwaves through the sport. The 66-year-old hedge fund billionaire has committed $1.5 billion to free agents during his tenure, and Major League Baseball even instituted a new luxury-tax penalty, informally dubbed the “Cohen Tax,” to check his spending habits. Yet for all the hoopla surrounding Cohen’s blank-check mentality, he’s not even the richest owner in the baseball world. In fact, Cohen—worth $17.5 billion—is nearly $5 billion short.
The crown still belongs to Masayoshi Son, despite his $22.4 billion fortune being roughly half of what it was two years ago. The founder and CEO of telecommunications and investment giant SoftBank Group, Son picked up a team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball in 2004 after two years of searching. The franchise has since become a Japanese baseball powerhouse, collecting seven Japan Series titles, most recently in 2020. (In fact, four of his players were on the team that defeated the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic title game in March.)
Son and Cohen are two of the richest sports owners on earth, part of a group of 20 who are collectively worth $509 billion. The combined fortunes of the top ten are valued at $396 billion, up 12% from a year ago. That’s partly because Walmart heir Rob Walton, who is worth $57.6 billion, joined the club, buying the Denver Broncos for a record $4.65 billion in 2022.
The richest sports owner of all is India’s Mukesh Ambani, owner of the Mumbai Indians cricket team. Worth $83.4 billion as of March 10, 2023—when Forbes locked in net worths for the 2023 World’s Billionaires list—Ambani has reclaimed the top spot from Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. Shares of Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries fell 3% over the past year—but not as much as shares of Microsoft, where Ballmer was CEO from 2000 to 2014. A 13% drop in Microsoft stock pushed Ballmer’s net worth down by $10.7 billion, to $80.7 billion, making him the planet’s second-wealthiest team owner.
Soccer is the most represented sport among the 20 richest owners, with eight of them owning stakes in ten teams. That includes five Major League Soccer clubs, which have become a popular investment opportunity for the ultra-wealthy. Forbes estimates there are at least 19 billionaires or members of billionaire families with key ownership stakes in MLS teams. This year, LAFC became the league’s first billion-dollar franchise, and with soccer growing in popularity, the fortunes of those invested in the sport could keep climbing. Closely trailing soccer is the NFL, with sevens owners, and the NBA, with five.
Through Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries ($104 billion annual revenue), Ambani owns the Indian Premier League’s Mumbai Indians, which Forbes named India’s most valuable cricket franchise, worth $1.3 billion, last year. Reliance recently purchased a franchise in the inaugural Women’s Premier League and owns cricket teams in South Africa and UAE.
The former CEO of Microsoft has seen his bet on the Clippers pay off since purchasing the team for $2 billion in 2014. His next move: investing another $2 billion for a new arena for the team in Inglewood, California.
In June, the Walmart heir blew away all other bids to purchase the Broncos for a sports-franchise-record $4.65 billion. His first season didn’t go as planned, though, with the team finishing 5-12.
One year before he purchased a controlling stake in the Gucci Group in 1999, the founder of luxury giant Kering bought French Ligue 1 soccer club Stade Rennais FC. The team has never finished higher than third in the league.
When Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz died in October, his 30-year-old son Mark inherited 49% of the company, plus stakes in the New York Red Bulls, RB Leipzig and two Formula 1 racing teams (Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri).
The founder and chairman of INEOS built his chemicals company into a conglomerate spanning multiple industries. The Ratcliffe-controlled firm bought Ligue 1’s OGC Nice in 2019. If Ratcliffe’s reported pursuit of Manchester United is successful, though, UEFA rules may force it to divest from the French soccer club.
He built SoftBank Group into a mobile telecom and investment giant at the same time he oversaw the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks through a run of success that included seven championships and a four-peat from 2017 to 2020. Son also had a stake in MLS’s Inter Miami CF before divesting in 2021.
Once the head of the junk-bond desk at Goldman Sachs, he founded Appaloosa Management in 1993 and built it to $20 billion in assets under management at its peak. In 2018, he bought the Panthers for $2.3 billion, and he has since replaced its general manager and two head coaches.
The Quicken Loans and StockX cofounder has seen his net worth drop from $51.9 billion in 2021 as the mortgage industry has cooled, but his investment in the Cavaliers has continued to skyrocket. He paid $375 million in 2005 for the franchise, which is now worth $2.05 billion.
Before becoming a free-wheeling, big-spending sports owner, Cohen was known as a successful, if controversial, Wall Street trader. Point72 Asset Management, his $27 billion (assets) hedge fund firm that started managing outside capital in 2018, reportedly generated more than $2.4 billion in profits for investors last year amid a rocky market, according to data from LCH Investments.
The founder and CEO of wireless equipment maker Ubiquiti Networks purchased the Grizzlies in 2012, at 34 years old. He’s overseen the most successful stretch in the franchise’s history, including seven playoff appearances in ten seasons and five playoff series wins.
The Cowboys, who first made Jones a billionaire in 2004, are now worth a record $8 billion, more than any other sports franchise on the planet. The team remains at the center of his universe, but Jones has amped up his real estate and national gas investments, most notably in publicly traded Comstock Resources.
His sports empire includes teams in the NBA, the NHL, MLS and the Premier League, although he’s perhaps best known for moving the NFL’s Rams to Los Angeles in 2016. Married to a Walmart heir, he also owns some 60 million square feet of real estate—much of it shopping plazas near Walmart stores.
His auto parts supplier company Flex-N-Gate has 69 plants and 26,000 employees worldwide. Besides the Jaguars, Khan has stakes in Premier League club Fulham FC and All Elite Wrestling, which he co-owns with his son Tony.
Before buying the Miami Dolphins in 2008, Ross was a tax attorney turned affordable housing developer. He owns a large portfolio of real estate, plus stakes in SoulCycle, Equinox Fitness and numerous fast-casual restaurant chains.
His fortune crosses several industries, including oil, railroads, telecom, real estate and entertainment, with a branch that owns or operates more than 350 arenas and concert venues worldwide. None are more famous than Arena, where his Kings play.
One of the winningest owners in all of sports, Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994 for $172 million. His investments in the NFL and MLS continue to boom, and he has expanded his reach to professional video gaming, founding a team in the Overwatch esports league in 2017.
A penchant for media deals and complicated corporate structures earned Malone the moniker of the “Cable Cowboy.” His Liberty Media Corporation, which also owns Formula 1, bought the Atlanta Braves in 2007, and Malone is the largest voting shareholder.
The IBM veteran and SAP cofounder has owned the San Jose Sharks for more than two decades and has yet to produce a championship. The NHL’s 25th-most-valuable franchise, worth an estimated $740 million, won’t break through in 2023, either, after failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With six years of NBA ownership under his belt, Fertitta is now making a play to join the exclusive ranks of the NFL. According to the Washington Post, he submitted a bid of $5.5 billion to buy the Washington Commanders from embattled billionaire owner Dan Snyder.


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