Perspective: What Elon Musk Could Buy With His Billions, From Sports Teams to Countries

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock (12577118a)FILE - Tesla CEO Elon Musk departs from the justice center in Wilmington, Del.
Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock / Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock

With an estimated net worth above $300 billion, it’s a safe bet that Elon Musk doesn’t need to shop in the discount aisle. So what does the world’s wealthiest person spend his money on — and what could he buy if he decided to buy anything he wanted?

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In terms of Musk’s spending habits, one thing we know is he wants to put a good chunk of his money toward sending people to Mars through his SpaceX company, Vanity Fair reported last week. Much of the rest he spends on real estate and other investments, philanthropy and the occasional expensive car, according to CNBC.

As to what Musk could buy with his billions, put it this way: He could buy pretty much anything he wants. According to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Tesla founder had a total net worth of $311 billion as of Nov. 1. That puts him more than $100 billion ahead of Jeff Bezos, who ranked second with a net worth of $195 billion. Musk’s net worth is more than twice that of Bill Gates, who has to scrape by on $136 billion.

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Based on gross domestic product, Musk could buy most of the world’s countries if he had a mind to (and they were in the mood to sell). His net worth is greater than the GDP of all but 43 of the 211 countries listed on the World Population Review site, based on 2019 figures from the International Monetary Fund. Chile, which ranks No. 43 with a GDP of $313.56 billion, comes in just ahead of Musk. Finland, ranked No. 44, trails Musk with a GDP of $289.24 billion. Musk’s net worth is roughly the equivalent of the combined GDPs of Ethiopia, Puerto Rico and Ecuador.

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Musk could easily buy every single major professional sports franchise in the United States and Canada, which include all the teams from Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL and the NHL. The total value of all four leagues is about $260 billion, Benzinga reported, citing data from Liam Killingstad of Front Office Sports. Musk would still have more than $50 billion left if he acquired all of the teams, but he’s shown little interest in buying sports franchises.

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Here are some other things Musk could buy with his billions:

  • Most of the corporations that appear on the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world’s biggest public companies. To put Musk’s wealth in perspective, consider this: His net worth is greater than the combined market value of Citigroup ($151.2 billion) and Volkswagen Group ($147.2 billion). His net worth is also greater than the combined yearly sales of JPMorgan Chase ($136.2 billion) and Microsoft ($153.3 billion).
  • More than two million fully-loaded Tesla Model S tri-motor Plaid models, the most expensive Tesla model outside of 18-wheelers. According to the Motor1.com website, the priciest version of this Plaid costs about $150,000.
  • About 980,500 average priced homes in the U.S. As of Sept. 30, the typical value of homes in the United States is $308,220, according to Zillow.
  • The 18 richest universities in the U.S., based on the combined market value of their endowment funds. The total value of these schools — from No. 1 Harvard to No. 18 University of Virginia — was about $305 billion as of the 2020 fiscal year, according to Statista.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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