I’m a fairly competitive person so I love sports. The last week or so was big for football – both college and professional. With that in mind, I thought I would comment on CNN.com story, which partnered with Mental Floss, story about different owners of major sporting teams in the US. It is called How to be a billionaire sports team owner.
Although there is no script, there are a couple of loose rules
- Be Young
- Find a Neglected Market
Here are a few excerpts:
1. Rich DeVos, Orlando Magic (NBA)
In 1959, DeVos and high school friend Jay Van Andel started selling all-purpose cleaner. Their business grew to become Amway, which now brings in $6 billion each year under the ominous-sounding Alticor name.Whether you see Amway as an empowering direct sales company or a something resembling a cult, it sure was good to DeVos.Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.5 billion, making the paltry $85 million he spent on the Magic in 1991 a minor investment.
2. Robert L. Johnson, Charlotte Bobcats (NBA)
Lower on my list of dream jobs is running a cable network that caters to urban youth.So I’m all kinds of envious of Robert L., who founded BET and sold it to Viacom for $3 billion in 2001.His fortune was depleted by an expensive divorce, but Johnson’s estimated net worth is still $1.1 billion.His resume is full of firsts BET was the first African-American owned company traded on the NYSE. He was the first African-American billionaire in the U.S. And, in 2002,
he became the first African-American majority owner of a professional
5. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
built an oil empire in the early 1970s, striking gas in the first
thirteen wells he drilled. His father had given him a head start; Pat
Jones sold the Modern Security Life Insurance Company for millions.An undersized guard, Jones was captain of the 1965 Cotton Bowl-winning Arkansas Razorbacks. Future Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson was a teammate, and Johnson’s successor, Barry Switzer, was a Razorbacks assistant. Jones bought the Cowboys for an estimated $140 million in 1989. He immediately made waves by firing Tom Landry — the only coach in
Cowboys history — and replacing him with his college buddy (the
aforementioned Jimmy Johnson, who was coaching the University of Miami).After a rocky 1-15 start in 1989, the Cowboys went on to win three Super Bowls in the 1990s. Mental Floss: A brief history of stadium naming rights
8. Daniel Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
$5,000 he’d earned delivering pizzas — and after a stint as a TV
reporter — the future Cavs owner started a small mortgage company
called Rock Financial in 1985. In 1999, the company was bought by Intuit for $532 million. Three years later, Gilbert bought it back for $64 mil, renaming the company Quicken Loans. He purchased the Cavaliers for $375 mil in 2005. He also owns Fathead, which makes wall decals and tiresome ads. On the side, Gilbert is working to beat Michigan’s steroid-free bench-pressing record.
9. Stephen Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
At 48, Stephen Bisciotti is one of the NFL’s youngest owners. He made his money in staffing — specifically, finding talented engineers for the aerospace industry. With Jim Davis, Bisciotti founded Aerotek in 1983 (he was 23). Their staffing company, now known as the Allegis Group, had revenues of $4.4 billion in 2005. Bisciotti bought 49 percent of the Ravens in 2000, and purchased the rest from Art Modell in 2004.