Owning a sports team is expensive, and owning an NFL franchise is no exception. The NFL has an annual revenue of $9.5 billion dollars, $2 billion more than the MLB’s $7.5 billion and almost three times more than the Premier League's $3.3 billion. Those numbers make the NFL the biggest sports league in the world. With annual TV revenue of $5 billion, the NFL makes almost 5 times the MLB’s $1.5 billion, and its average attendance of 67,604 per game doubles the MLB’s 30,895.
While the Green Bay Packers are uniquely a community-owned organization, 17 NFL teams (over half the league) are owned by billionaires. On Forbes’ list of The World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams, NFL teams occupied 60% of the list with 4 in the top ten. Being the biggest sport in America, it’s no surprise that ownership of an NFL franchise carries a hefty price tag, the league's least valuable franchise according to Forbes (the Oakland Raiders) have a value of $825 million.
This is a list of the top 10 richest owners in the NFL for 2013 according to Forbes.
10 Arthur Blank - Atlanta Falcons - $1.7 Billion
9 Bob McNair - Houston Texans - $2 Billion
8 Robert Kraft - New England Patriots - $2.9 Billion
7 Joan Tisch - New York Giants - $2.9 Billion
Joan Tisch owns a 6.6% stake in the New York Giants and inherited 50% ownership from her husband Robert Tisch after he passed away in 2005. Her husband bought a half-stake of the Giants in 1991 from Tim Mara. Her son Steve serves as the family’s point man in their ownership of the team. The Giants have appeared in three Super Bowls since 1991, winning two in the past six years. She and her sister-in-law Wilma Tisch are in control of the fortune built by their late husbands, Lawrence and Robert Tisch. Their company Loews Corp. controls natural gas pipelines, offline drilling and insurance.
6 Jerry Jones - Dallas Cowboys - $3 Billion
5 Shahid Khan - Jacksonville Jaguars - $3.8 billion
4 Malcolm Glazer - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - $4.5 Billion
3 Stephen Ross - Miami Dolphins - $4.8 Billion
Stephen Ross bought 50% of the Miami Dolphins in 2008 for $550 million, and in 2009 went on to purchase and additional 45% from then-owner Wayne Huizenga for a grand total of $1.1 billion. Ross now owns 95% of the Dolphins and their stadium, and since his purchase of the team he has brought in Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Venus Williams and Serena Williams as minority owners. He is the chairman of Related Cos., and has been developing a $15 billion neighborhood in Manhattan’s West Side called Hudson Yards. Ross is ranked 94th on Forbes’ list of the top 400 richest Americans.
2 Stanley Kroenke - St. Louis Rams - $5.3 Billion
In 1995, Stanley Kroenke bought a 40% stake in the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, becoming full owner of the team 15 years later. Apart from the Rams, Kroenke also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, but in order to gain full ownership of the Rams, Kroenke turned over control of the Avalanche and the Nuggets to his son. By 2014 Kroenke must give up his majority stake in both teams since the NFL does not allow its owners to hold majority control of major league teams in other NFL markets. Kroenke founded his own real estate company, the Kroenke Group in 1983 and serves as chairman of THF Reality, an independent real estate development company founded in 1991. He ranks 84th on Forbes’ list of the top 400 richest Americans.
1 Paul Allen - Seattle Seahawks - $15.8 Billion
Soaring in at 26th on Forbes’ list of the top 400 richest Americans is best-known as being the co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation. Allen is also the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc. Founded in 1986, the company manages Allen’s philanthropic and business ventures. Allen owns the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. In 1988 Allen bought the Trail Blazers from Larry Weinberg for $70 million, and the team is now worth $457 million according to Forbes. In 1997 Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks from then-owner Ken Behring who planned to move the team to Southern California, and in August 2013, Forbes valued the Seahawks at $1.08 billion. Apart from the Seahawks and Trail Blazers, Allen is also a part-owner of the MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC soccer club.