For the megarich, ownership of a sports franchise is the ultimate trophy — and an NFL team is the biggest cap feather of them all. Some of the richest NFL team owners inherited their franchises as part of massive hand-me-down fortunes.
Retirement at Any Age: Get Retirement Tips That Fit Every Stage of Life
Read More: Get Your Credit Score On Track With These 3 Tips for Success
Learn: 3 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000
Other owners bought their teams after amassing enormous wealth on their own and paying huge money to enter one of the most exclusive clubs around. In a few rare cases, the family fortune is based on ownership of the team. Here, the richest 18 team owners are ranked from least to most wealth, primarily based on data from Forbes.
Woody Johnson: $3.4 Billion Net Worth
- Team: New York Jets
- Year Purchased: 2000
- Price Paid for Team: $635 million
- Team Value: $5.4 billion
Despite being perennially and predictably terrible, the Jets are consistently one of the 10 most valuable teams in the NFL. Their owner, Woody Johnson, served as ambassador to Great Britain from 2017-2020, and his brother ran the team in his absence. Now, Woody Johnson is back as chairman and Christopher Johnson as vice chairman. Worth $3.4 billion, Woody Johnson is not a self-made man by any means. He’s the most famous of the heirs of Robert Wood Johnson, who founded Johnson & Johnson in 1886.
Take Our Poll: How Do You Think the Economy Will Perform in 2023?
Jim Irsay: $3.9 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Indianapolis Colts
- Year Purchased: 1972
- Price Paid for Team: $14 million
- Team Value: $3.8 billion
Robert Irsay bought the Colts for $14 million in 1972, and his son, Jim, spent his childhood with the team, living with them in the summer and traveling with them on the team bus as a kid. A college football player himself, Jim Irsay worked various jobs for the Colts for his entire life, including ticket sales and public relations. When the elder Irsay died in 1997, Jim Irsay became the sole owner and led Indy to a successful run that included a Super Bowl victory. He is now worth $3.9 billion.
Jeffrey Lurie: $4.4 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Philadelphia Eagles
- Year Purchased: 1994
- Price Paid for Team: $185 million
- Team Value: $4.9 billion
Jeffrey Lurie, worth $4.4 billion, has owned the Eagles for more than a quarter-century. He took out a loan to buy the team and went on to earn his fortune in the movie and media business. He became an executive in the General Cinema Corporation, founded by his grandfather in 1983, and later founded Chestnut Hill Productions.
Gayle Benson: $4.7 Billion Net Worth
- Team: New Orleans Saints
- Year Purchased: 1985
- Price Paid for Team: $70.2 million
- Team Value: $3.58 billion
Gayle Benson inherited not just the Saints, but also the New Orleans Pelicans, when her husband, wealthy businessman Tom Benson, passed away in 2018. He purchased the team in 1985 for $70.2 million. Gayle Benson, Tom Benson’s third wife, is worth $4.7 billion.
Jimmy and Dee Haslam: $4.9 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Cleveland Browns
- Year Purchased: 2012
- Price Paid for Team: $987 million
- Team Value: $3.85 billion
In 1958, Jim Haslam bought a single gas station for $6,000. In the ensuing decades, he turned that into the truck stop empire that is Pilot Flying J, which has more than 800 locations in North America and brings in about $26 billion in revenues a year, Forbes reported. His son Jimmy, along with Jimmy’s wife, Dee, bought the Browns in 2012. Jimmy joined the Pilot board of directors as a college student and served as CEO until early 2020, when he transitioned to chairman. Jimmy and Dee Haslam are worth $4.9 billion.
Dan Snyder: $4.9 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Washington Commanders
- Year Purchased: 1999
- Price Paid for Team: $750 million
- Team Value: $5.6 billion
Dan Snyder made his money through his marketing firm Snyder Communications, which he formed after dropping out of college. He took the company public in 1996 and then sold it to a French company in 2000 — the year after he bought the storied franchise — for $750 million. In late June, his wife, Tanya Snyder, was named co-CEO and took over day-to-day team operations “for at least the next several months,” The Washington Post said. The shift came after an NFL investigation found that the culture of the club was “toxic” under Dan Snyder’s leadership and fined the franchise $10 million. The subject of continuing investigations, Snyder and the Commanders have hired Bank of America Securities to assist with the potential sale of all or part of the team. Today, Dan Snyder’s net worth today is estimated at $4.9 billion.
Janice McNair: $5 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Houston Texans
- Year Purchased: 1999
- Price Paid for Team: $600 million
- Team Value: $4.7 billion
When Robert McNair died in 2018, his widow, Janice McNair, inherited her late husband’s 80% stake in the 32nd and most recent expansion team to enter the NFL. Robert paid $600 million for the Houston Texans after selling his power generator company Cogen Technologies to energy firm (and soon-to-be criminal enterprise) Enron in 1999. Janice McNair is worth $5 billion.
Denise DeBartolo York and John York: $5.1 Billion Net Worth
- Team: San Francisco 49ers
- Year Purchased: 1977
- Price Paid for Team: $13 million
- Team Value: $5.2 billion
The 49ers are the No. 8 most valuable team in the NFL, and the family of Denise York owns 90% of it. Her father, construction giant Edward DeBartolo Sr., bought the team for $13 million in 1977. The wife of pathologist John York, Denise gained control of the 49ers from her brother, who owned the team for 23 years before running into legal trouble. Their son, Jed York, is the team CEO. The Yorks are worth $5.1 billion.
Terry and Kim Pegula: $6.7 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Buffalo Bills
- Year Purchased: 2014
- Price Paid for Team: $1.4 billion
- Team Value: $3.4 billion
Fracking magnate Terry Pegula, along with his wife, Kim, have an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion — but it wasn’t always that way. He founded his energy company, East Resources, in 1983 with a $7,500 loan. In 2010, he sold East Resources to the Royal Dutch Shell company for $4.7 billion. The undisputed monarchs of Buffalo sports, the Pegulas also own the Buffalo Sabres NHL team.
Stephen Bisciotti: $6.4 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Baltimore Ravens
- Year Purchased: 2004
- Price Paid for Team: $600 million
- Team Value: $3.9 billion
Stephen Bisciotti, who was raised by a single mother in Baltimore, started the staffing firm Allegis Group with his cousin Jim Davis — also now a billionaire — in a basement in 1983. Today, Bisciotti is worth $6.4 billion and owns the Ravens, who won a Super Bowl most recently in 2013. Allegis Group has $12.3 billion in annual revenues, Forbes reports.
Arthur Blank: $8 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Atlanta Falcons
- Year Purchased: 2002
- Price Paid for Team: $545 million
- Team Value: $4 billion
If you’ve ever shopped at Home Depot, you’ve contributed to the $8 billion fortune of Arthur Blank. He co-founded the hardware giant with Bernie Marcus in 1978, became one of the richest people in the world, and stepped down as Home Depot co-chairman in 2001, a year before buying the Falcons. In 2012, he signed the Giving Pledge and vowed to donate the majority of his wealth to charity.
Robert Kraft: $10.6 Billion Net Worth
- Team: New England Patriots
- Year Purchased: 1994
- Price Paid for Team: $172 million
- Team Value: $6.4 billion
As a child, Robert Kraft sold newspapers outside of the former Braves Stadium in Boston. He began amassing his $10.6 billion fortune through a successful packaging and paper business and went on to assemble a sporting empire that now includes and the New England Revolution MLS soccer club. The jewel in his crown, however, is the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, which was the greatest dynasty in football history before finally missing the playoffs in 2020.
Shahid Khan: $11.5 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Year Purchased: 2011
- Price Paid for Team: $770 million
- Team Value: $3.48 billion
A self-made man now worth $11.5 billion, Shahid Khan is an engineer by trade. In 1980, he bought Flex-N-Gate, an auto parts supplier, from his former employer. He then put his engineering background to work in designing a hugely successful one-piece truck bumper, and in the ensuing decades, he grew his business to include 69 plants run by 26,000 employees.
Stephen M. Ross: $11.6 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Miami Dolphins
- Year Purchased: 2008
- Price Paid for Team: $1.1 billion
- Team Value: $4.6 billion
Tax-attorney-turned-real estate developer Stephen M. Ross amassed an $11.6 billion fortune, in part, through his Related Co. real estate firm. It’s responsible for $60 billion in property development and acquisition, including Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, which opened to the public in 2019. Ross also owns stakes in a variety of restaurant chains, SoulCycle and Equinox Fitness.
Stanley Kroenke: $12.9 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Los Angeles Rams
- Year Purchased: 2010
- Price Paid for Team: $750 million
- Team Value: $6.2 billion
Real estate powerbroker Stanley Kroenke is worth $12.9 billion, much of which can be credited to the 60 million square feet of mostly commercial real estate in his bulging portfolio. Kroenke boasts a title coveted by the elite since the founding of America — landowner. He personally owns nearly 1.5 million acres of ranches in the U.S. and Canada. A major sports mogul, his holdings are not limited to the Rams. He also owns the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids and Arsenal soccer club in Britain.
Jerry Jones: $13.6 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Dallas Cowboys
- Year Purchased: 1989
- Price Paid for Team: $150 million
- Team Value: $8 billion
Jerry Jones, who is worth $13.6 billion, has both football and business baked into his DNA. He originally made his money as a successful oil wildcatter, but before that, he served as co-captain of the University of Arkansas’ 1964 national championship football team. Although they haven’t played in a Super Bowl since the 1995 season, the Cowboys are the most valuable team in not just the NFL, but in all sports, by a mile — the next-most-valuable team, the New England Patriots, is worth $6.4 billion, according to Forbes rankings. All of this happened under the unprecedented stewardship of Jones, who revolutionized the modern NFL and changed how it’s marketed, sold, merchandized and contracted to the media.
David Tepper: $18.5 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Carolina Panthers
- Year Purchased: 2018
- Price Paid for Team: $2.3 billion
- Team Value: $3.6 billion
Widely hailed as the greatest hedge fund manager of his generation, David Tepper made a lot of money for his clients — and himself. His net worth is estimated to be $18.5 billion — once enough to make him the richest individual NFL owner by a longshot. A former Goldman Sachs junk bond manager, Tepper’s Appaloosa Management fund oversees $13 billion in assets — 65% of the $20 billion it managed at its peak.
Rob Walton: $61 Billion Net Worth
- Team: Denver Broncos
- Year Purchased: 2022
- Price Paid for Team: $4.65 billion [x]
- Team Value: $4.65 billion
Rob Walton, the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, joined with his daughter and son-in-law to buy the Denver Broncos in August 2022 for $4.65 billion – the most ever paid for a sports franchise.[x] Walton became chairman of Walmart when his father died in 1992, and he stayed in the position until his retirement in 2015. Now, he can focus on turning around the Broncos, who finished with a 5-12 record in the 2022 season.
More From GOBankingRates
- Dollar Tree: 5 High-Quality Items To Buy Now
- Do You Have a Tax Question? Ask a Tax Pro
- The 10 Best Cash Back Credit Cards for 2023
- 6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Procrastinate on Your Taxes
Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.