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The 20 Billionaires of the Sports World

The 29th edition of the annual Forbes Billionaire list was released earlier this week, and the elite community of the world’s richest has expanded to include new members into its ranks. 290 newly certified billionaires were added to the list, shattering the record set in previous years. These examples of wealth accumulation are extraordinary and have been accomplished in a variety of methods such as creating business empires, riding the startup boom, or the old fashioned way, inheritance.

While the accumulated wealth on the list totals over $7 trillion, this list will narrowly focus on those individuals that remain associated with sports. The value of franchises across the world’s major professional sports has skyrocketed in recent years. The world’s super rich attempt to acquire these franchises in an effort to improve their public persona. With a limited number of franchises in each sport, this trend looks like it will continue, especially in the wake of the Donald Sterling fiasco. Following his bigoted views being made public, his franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers, was sold for a whopping $2 billion to Steve Ballmer, causing the value of all NBA teams to jump in value.

The individuals included on this list have made their fortunes thanks to the franchises, properties, and businesses they own associated with sports. The empires that these individuals have built are brimming with thousands, if not millions, of loyal fans that are ready to spend their hard earned money to further increase these owners’ wealth. These teams are investments that almost guarantee a return, because owners always hold the trump card of potentially relocating the franchise. With the NFL flirting with the idea of multiple Los Angeles franchises, several members of this list may see their net worth increasing.

* You can see the entire Forbes list here.

19 Michael Jordan - $1.0 billion

William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

18 Jeffrey Lurie - $1.1 billion

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

17 T17. Alexander Spanos - $1.3 billion

via obrag.org

16 T17. Jerry Reinsdorf - $1.3 billion

via leanblitzconsulting.com

15 T14. Arturo Moreno - $1.5 billion

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

14 T14. Lorenzo Fertitta - $1.5 billion

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

13 T14. Frank Fertitta, III - $1.5 billion

via dailytrojan.com

12 T12. John Henry - $1.6 billion

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

11 Dan Snyder - $1.7 billion

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

10 James Irsay - $1.8 billion

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

9 Tom Benson - $1.9 billion

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

8 James France - $2.1 billion

via forbes.com

7 Robert McNair - $2.4 billion

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

6 Arthur Blank - $2.5 billion

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

5 Stephen Bisciotti - $2.7 billion

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

4 Bernard Ecclestone - $3.9 billion

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

3 Jerry Jones – $4.2 billion

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

2 Robert Kraft - $4.3 billon

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

1 Stanley Kroenke - $6.3 billion

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Kroenke is the husband of Wal-Mart heiress Ann Walton. The couple own considerable real estate and financial holdings. Kroenke’s sports empire includes holdings Arsenal, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, and the St. Louis Rams. Kroenke is at the center of the NFL potentially moving a team to Los Angeles. Kroenke is the owner of a site, which could soon become home to an 80,000 seat stadium, where he would move the Rams in their return to the city. Although future business moves will likely increase his wealth even further, his $6.3 billion in holdings currently makes him the richest person in the world of sports.

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The 20 Billionaires of the Sports World