What do billionaires do with all that money? Those who love sports often buy sports teams, sometimes sports teams that they’ve admired for their entire lives. When billionaires buy sports teams, they become the ultimate fans, supporting the teams not just with money and investments, but with great publicity and good old-fashioned game attendance.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made his $27.8 billion fortune working for Microsoft. He was the company’s 30th employee, and at one point owned 8.3 percent of the company. In 2000 he became CEO, and in 2014 he retired from the position. He owns the Los Angeles Clippers, a team which he bid $2 billion for after the team’s former owner made racist comments. It is one of the highest prices anyone has ever paid for a sports team. Ballmer is known for his personality and his love of his sports team.
Indian oil tycoon Mukesh Ambani is the chairman of India’s largest oil company, Reliance Industries LTD. He also owns 44.7 percent of the company’s shares, making him the largest stakeholder in the company. Ambani went into business with his dad instead of finishing an MBA at Stanford; later, he was responsible for creating a large petroleum refinery which kicked off his oil career. He owns the Mumbai Indians, one of the Indian Premiere League’s cricket teams. In 2008, when the Indian Premiere League was first created, Reliance Industries LTD bought the Mumbai franchise of the new league for $111.9 million.
Daryl Katz made his fortune in the pharmacy industry, starting with opening then U.S.-based Medicine Shoppe stores in Canada in the early 90s with his father. At the same time, he formed the Katz Group, which has since expanded into sports, entertainment, and real estate. The billionaire and philanthropist, whose net worth is an estimated $4.14 billion, bought the Edmonton Oilers in 2008 for $200 million, after more than a year of offering bids that the current owners rejected. Daryl Katz has been a lifelong Oilers fan and is heavily invested in helping the team achieve success.
Most people know Michael Jordan as the powerful Chicago Bulls basketball player. His rise to fame and fortune is well documented in pop culture. What many people don’t know is Jordan’s net worth, which is $1.14 billion, and that he used part of his fortune to buy NBA team the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010. The Charlotte Bobcats are now known as the Charlotte Hornets, which was their original name before they became the Bobcats. Though Jordan’s team ownership has come under criticism during the six years he’s owned the team, he’s recently entered into the NBA labor negotiations which has helped change his reputation.
Sports team ownership shows a lighthearted, playful side of these business tycoons. Getting involved not just as a financial backer but also as a strategist, analyst, and fan of these sports teams sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?