Owning a professional sports team is the ultimate "get" for the billionaire set.
Buying a professional sports franchise isn't easy -- it takes hundreds of millions, and maybe even billions of dollars to accomplish. But once you do, the purchase can quickly turn into the ultimate cash cow for team owners.
Think about it. The New York Yankees, for example, are worth $4.6 billion in 2019. The Steinbrenner family owns the Yankees with the late patriarch George Steinbrenner paying $8.7 million for the franchise back in 1973.
Then there's the New England Patriots. Team owner Robert Kraft paid $172 million in 1994 to buy the team. Today, the Pats are worth $4.1 billion.
No doubt, owning a professional sports franchise makes you a wealthy individual.
How wealthy? Let's find out by listing the wealthiest sports team owners in the U.S.
The 15 Wealthiest Sports Team Owners in the U.S.
1. Steve Ballmer - Los Angeles Clippers
Ballmer generated his wealth by working side-by-side with Bill Gates at Microsoft. That partnership is still paying dividends - literally - as Ballmer's net worth stands at $51.4 billion in 2019. He's earned $9.1 billion alone in the past year from Microsoft stock, which has appreciated by over 20%. At the $51 billion level, Ballmer is far and away from the richest sports owner in America.
2. David Tepper - Carolina Panthers
Tepper recently purchased the NFL franchise for $2.3 billion. He can afford it, as the hedge fund king is worth $12.3 billion. Tepper is known for a genial manner and is known around Charlotte, home of the Panthers, as "the billionaire next door."
3. Phil Anschutz - Los Angeles Kings
If it seems that being a professional sports team owner in Los Angeles is a sign of massive wealth, it's no coincidence. Anschutz, the owner of one of the National Hockey League's most powerful brands, is worth $11.5 billion. One of the largest landowners in the U.S., Anschutz also owns the Los Angeles Galaxy professional soccer team. He is worth a reported $10.3 billion in 2019.
4. Stanley Kroenke - L.A. Rams, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche
Kroenke, worth $9.7 billion, is in the business of owning professional sports franchises. Aside from the Rams football team, Nuggets basketball and Avalanche hockey teams, Kroenke also owns Arsenal, one of the highest-profile soccer teams in the world as well as the Colorado Rapids professional soccer team.
5. Jerry Jones - Dallas Cowboys
The flamboyant owner of the Dallas Cowboys not only owns one of the most recognizable professional football teams in the NFL, but he also owns the glittery stadium, unofficially known as "Jerry World," that the Cowboys call home. The oil and gas titan is worth $8.6 billion in 2019.
6. Micky Arison - Miami Heat
The chairman of Carnival Cruises, Arison has owned the Heat since 1995. He's found success on the hardcourt, too, with the Heat winning the NBA title in 2006, 2012 and 2013. Arison is worth $8.1 billion.
7. Shahid Kahn - Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pakistani billionaire earned his billions in automobile manufacturing. He purchased the NFL's Jaguars for $760 million in 2011. He, too, can afford it, as Kahn has a net worth of $7.8 billion.
8. Stephen Ross - Miami Dolphins
Ross, with a net worth of $7.6 billion, cracks the "top 10" of the wealthiest U.S. professional sports owners. As chairman of Related Cos, Ross not only rides herd on the Dolphins, but also owns New York's Time Warner Center, Hudson Yards, and the Equinox and SoulCycle fitness clubs.
9. Robert Kraft - New England Patriots
For spoiled Patriot fans, there would be no Bill Belichick coaching and Tom Brady quarterbacking the now-legendary franchise without Bob Kraft.
The Pats owner (he also owns the New England Revolution professional soccer team) literally saved the franchise when he bought it in 1994. Earlier that same year, the former owner was set to move the franchise to St. Louis until Kraft stepped in to save the day -- and watch his team win six Super Bowls in 20 years. He's worth $6.9 billion.
10. Daniel Gilbert - Cleveland Cavaliers
Gilbert, the owner of the NBA's Cavaliers, is the co-founder of Quicken Loans, the largest online mortgage lender in the U.S. At $6.5 billion, Gilbert lands in the top 10 of the wealthiest sports team owners in the U.S. He's owned the Cavaliers since 2005 and presided over the team's 2016 NBA championship.
11. Robert Pera - Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies haven't had much success on the basketball court, but the 39-year-old Pera has certainly made his mark as one of the youngest - and wealthiest - sports owners in the U.S. Pera made his money in communications technology. Pera purchased the Grizzlies in 2012 and has poured ample financial resources into his hardcourt product, with strong results. In each of the two years under Pera's watch, the Grizzlies won more games than in any of the prior 17 seasons. He's worth a reported $6.4 billion.
12. Tom Gores - Detroit Pistons
Gores, the owner of the NBA's Detroit Pistons, is the founder of Platinum Equity in plush Beverly Hills, Cal. Two thousand miles to the east, his Detroit Pistons have a proud history of championship success on the hardcourt but have fallen on hard times in recent years. Gores has fared significantly better -- his return on investment in the past eight years owning the Pistons is a reported $775 million. Gores is worth $5.6 billion, as of 2019.
13. Arthur Blank - Atlanta Falcons
The billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, Blank has owned the Falcons since 2002 and has an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion in 2019. Blank is well known as one of the most charitable sports franchise owners. His Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has given $250 million to charity since the foundation was launched in 1995.
14. Charles Dolan - New York Knicks and New York Rangers
Dolan is the high profile owner of professional sports most high profile teams -- New York's Rangers and Knicks. In business circles, Dolan is known as a cable television kingpin. In 1971, he founded Home Box Office and later founded Cablevision. Dolan, worth $5.3 billion, also owns Madison Square Garden, one of the most celebrated sports arenas in the world.
15. Ted Lerner - Washington Nationals
The first professional baseball team owner to make the "wealthiest" list, Lerner is worth $5.1 billion in 2019 and has owned the Nationals since 2006. He's known as one of the biggest real estate developers in the U.S. and owns bundles of properties in Washington, D.C. Well into his 90s, Lerner has begun ceding more control of his team to his son Mark Lerner.