It takes a lot of time, energy and money to run a sports franchise, and it takes even more know-how to run it well. In most scenarios, the owner of a sports franchise completely funds the team’s operations, and hires other people to make the important decisions on the field or on the ice. Other times, however, the owner gets far too involved and becomes a point of blame when the team isn’t performing well.
There are plenty of great owners out there that are beloved by their fans, such as Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, the Rooney Family of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Peter Holt of the San Antonio Spurs. These owners have ensured that their franchises have a winning culture without a lot of drama or turnover, racking up titles along the way.
Then there are those owners who seem like they are doing their best to alienate their fan bases without showing much of a glimmer of hope at winning titles. Between money grubbing, poor decision making and general disdain for their fellow man, these owners are pressured by their fans to sell the team. Which ones are the worst, though? Here are 15 sports owners that are hurting their franchises.
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15 Glen Taylor
The list gets started with Glen Taylor, the primary owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Taylor’s Timberwolves have gone longer without making the playoffs than any other team in the NBA right now. There has been a massive turnover in the front office for the Timberwolves with multiple general managers getting a short leash despite not wanting to spend money on acquiring players. In the past decade, Taylor has only had to pay a luxury tax once for the final season of Kevin Garnett’s first run in 2007, and he barely went over the cap. Taylor has also flirted with the idea of moving the franchise, so it’s no wonder that fans don’t want to spend money on him if he’s truly not devoted to winning in Minnesota.
14 Stuart Sternberg
Toward the bottom of the payroll rankings in the MLB, you will find the Tampa Bay Rays sitting there with a payroll of under $68 million. Stuart Sternberg is the owner of the Rays, and is worth $800 million. You wouldn’t know it with the amount he spends on his players, and he’s still trying to figure out why people aren’t showing up to the park. It’s a combination of a poor stadium (Tropicana Field) and lack of starpower in a region that was never really clamoring for a team in the first place. Sternberg has criticized fans for not coming to games, and has even brought up a discussion about moving the Rays to Montreal. Sternberg said back in 2011 that the MLB will “find a place for me. They won’t find a place here, though.”
13 Alan Cohen
In just their third year in the league, things were looking good for the Florida Panthers as they reached the Stanley Cup Finals. Since then, things have been going poorly, and owner Alan Cohen is the primary reason behind it. After making poor hires and spending towards the bottom of all teams, Cohen doesn’t appear to be that interested in making it back to the finals. As a result, Florida’s attendance is 26th in the league with an average of just 13,482 fans per home game. Not to mention that the BB&T Center is one of the worst arenas in all of the NHL, and it’s clear that Cohen needs to make some drastic changes.
Without a doubt, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most valuable team in the entire National Hockey League. However, the Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup in more than four decades and a lot of that blame can be put on the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. They have made some recent hires that show that they are at least a little bit committed to the future, but they have been near absent for years. There are simply too many entities that MLSE is trying to run at once, and it has taken an effect on the Maple Leafs. Some of the other teams that are run by MLSE include the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC.
11 Lew Wolff
Lew Wolff is the current owner of the Oakland Athletics, who are among the bottom in the payroll rankings, and have been for a very long time. Wolff has been farming prospect players, and trading them away whenever they get good for years now, and is trying to keep costs to a minimum. Another piece of evidence to Wolff’s stingy ways is the fact that his team is still sharing a stadium with the Oakland Raiders. With some starpower and a better stadium, there is no doubt that the Athletics would have a lot of fan support, but it doesn’t seem likely since Wolff isn’t interested in spending much of his massive net worth.
10 Jim Irsay
While he has had a lot of success as an owner throughout the years, Jim Irsay has also been highly controversial as the figurehead of the Indianapolis Colts. Irsay has brought a beautiful new stadium and a Super Bowl title, but his on-field success can mainly be attributed to having the top overall draft picks when Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck were available. Irsay has had some substance abuse problems, spouts off on social media at weird hours of the day and can’t hire a general manager that knows how to draft outside of the top spot. While the Colts aren’t being run into the ground, he’s definitely having his problems lately.
9 Jimmy Haslam
Cleveland Browns fans were a bit excited when Randy Lerner sold the team to gas station magnate Jimmy Haslam. Haslam was supposed to be a more hands-on owner than Lerner, but has made poor decision after poor decision. Not only has Haslam been involved in some shady business dealings, but his hiring process for head coaches has been even more questionable. While his intentions with the Browns might seem good, he clearly has not shown that he has an idea so far about how to build a successful NFL franchise. How can you hire people that think you can win a Super Bowl with the QB combo of Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel?
8 Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones is one of those owners that people like to call “quirky” or “entertaining” when the team is winning and then “clueless” and “ignorant” when they’re losing. Jones was loved by fans when the Cowboys made a playoff run in 2014, but that has definitely changed this year, and it’s pretty much all thanks to a Tony Romo injury. People were reminded that Jones can say some stupid things, such as calling Greg Hardy a “leader” and his general manager skills have been questionable at best. The palace known as Jerry World has been a tribute to his own ideals of excess, and he was able to get more than $300 million of the funds given to him to build it.
7 The DeVos Family
Even outside the sports world, you can probably find a lot of reasons for disliking the DeVos Family since they own Amway, the country’s most successful pyramid scheme. Not only that, but they have given millions to foundations that have been trying to block civil rights for gay people. The DeVos Family then fleeced the city of Orlando by saying that a new arena would be profitable, and they were able to get more than $400 million to build it. As an icing on the cake, Orlando has the second lowest payroll in the NBA, but they totally can’t turn a profit because it’s somebody else’s fault, right?
6 Charles Wang
Charles Wang became a part owner of the New York Islanders back in 2000, and bought the majority stake in 2004. Wang originally spent a lot of money on the team’s payroll, but has decreased seemingly every year. Wang turned a profit despite not having anybody show up to watch his awful team with a low payroll, and it turns out it was because he was underreporting his profits from cable television contracts. Wang then moved the team from Long Island to Brooklyn because a stadium deal couldn’t done (a.k.a. he didn’t want to spend his own money).
5 Stan Kroenke
Just this past week, Stan Kroenke proved he’s one of the most arrogant people in the NFL by having his cronies block a bathroom inside of a Vikings press box for his private use. Kroenke is the owner of the St. Louis Rams, and has been kicking and screaming about moving the team to Los Angeles for years now. Kroenke has been trying to develop a stadium in the Los Angeles area despite attendance at near 90 percent after losing season after losing season. City officials want to keep the team in St. Louis, but apparently Kroenke doesn’t want to listen and seems hell bent on moving.
4 Alex Spanos
We now meet another owner who is hell bent on moving his team to Los Angeles in the form of San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos. Spanos has owned the team for more than 30 years now, and is ready to take his $1 billion team up the road to L.A., basically in hopes to get a new stadium. Spanos has engaged in talks with the cities of San Diego, Oceanside, Carlsbad and just about any other city in the metro area of building a new stadium, but they don’t want to pay hand over first to a guy that’s worth $1.2 billion. Until then, Spanos is holding the team hostage and the fans are so dejected that they aren’t showing up as much these days, ranking 23rd in attendance.
3 Jeffrey Loria
Jeffrey Loria spent $12 million on the Montreal Expos (before their move, obviously) and got so frustrated with the other owners that he wound up with almost 100 percent control. Loria was basically able to sell the team to the league for $120 million, and ponied up another $38 million to buy the Marlins on a loan from the league. Since then, he has acquired a lot of good young talent, only to sell them off because he doesn’t like spending his own money. Loria then tricked Miami into building him a new stadium that is going to cost the city $2.4 billion for the next 30 years. To show his appreciation, Loria didn’t end up finally spending money, but instead slashed payroll to the point of being completely non-competitive as a big middle finger to South Florida.
2 James Dolan
When James Dolan took over the New York Knicks in 1999, it didn’t seem too bad as they won the Eastern Conference in his first year. Since then, things have gone south in a hurry and Dolan is now the most hated owner in the NBA. While Dolan has shown a commitment to spending money on the team, he has been spending it in all the wrong places. Dolan has made mistake after mistake, hiring some of the worst general managers that money can buy including Isaiah Thomas. If you want to know how much Knicks fans despise Dolan, just Google “Jim Dolan Sucks” and enjoy the 331,000 results you get.
1 Dan Snyder
Without a doubt, the worst owner in all of sports is Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins. Redskins fans are getting so distraught with trying to root for Snyder’s team that they are now only filling 81 percent of the stadium despite having the amount of seats slashed from FedEx Field, which was at one point the NFL’s largest stadium. Snyder has blown millions on washed-up free agents, leading to a lot of blowout losses. Snyder also doesn’t care that the team’s nickname is pretty much hated by anyone that’s not a Redskins fan, he continues to back RGIII despite all of the drama that has been brought on, he’s sued fans for not buying season tickets and that’s just scratching the surface. Redskins fans deserve better. As in, literally anybody.
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