Five Premier-League owners on list of 20 richest sports-team owners
22 March 2019
London clubs are popular targets for billionaires.
Arsenal and Chelsea owners count among top 10 wealthiest sports-team owners worldwide.
If you’re a billionaire, it might not be a bad idea to own a sports team, as their fortunes fared slightly better than billionaires as a whole, according to Forbes.
The list of the top 20 richest sports-team owners has 13 with rising fortunes, two static and five decliners – and includes five owners of Premier-League clubs, with Roman Abramovich being the wealthiest of the bunch.
Abramovich became the owner of Chelsea FC in 2003 and had the ambition to build a dynasty on a par with clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Chelsea FC have since become well known for their big spending, which has been made possible by Abramovich, a Russian who has a net worth of £9.42 billion, according to Forbes.
This places him as the fifth richest majority shareholder or managing partner of a sports team in the world, according to the publication.
Tenth on the list are London rivals Arsenal with Stanley Kroenke, 71, as their owner. The American is worth £7.37 billion and has made his money through real estate and sport investments.
Besides owning the current number four in the Premier League, he is also the majority shareholder or managing partner of Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids.
Kroenke first started buying shares in Arsenal in 2007, but did not take full control of the club until 2018. In August, he bought out the second major shareholder Alisher Usmanov in a deal worth around £600 million, valuing the club at £1.8 billion. Arsenal and Chelsea are joined by two other football clubs in top 10 - New York Red Bulls owned by Dietrich Mateschitz and LA Galaxy owned by Philip Anschutz.
He now lives in the Bahamas after selling his family business for £30 million in 1979 and then becoming a currency trader
In the top 20 though, they are accompanied by fellow London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham and 2016 Premier-League champions Leicester City.
Fulham’s owner Shahid Khan is the 13th richest sports-team owner in the world with a net worth of £5.9 billion. He bought the club in 2013 from Mohamad Al-Fayed for a reported sum of £150-200 million. The American owner made his money through auto parts and is also the owner of the American football team Jacksonville Jaguars.
Tottenham Hotspur enters the list at number 18 with owner Joe Lewis, 82, the 12th wealthiest person in the UK. He now lives in the Bahamas after selling his family business for £30 million in 1979 and then becoming a currency trader.
ENIC Group, owned by Joe Lews and Daniel Levi, currently holds 85 per cent of the shares in the club in their Bahamas-registered subsidiary, ENIC International Limited. Lewis has formerly owned stakes in Glasgow Rangers FC and Czech Slavia Prague.
Love at first sight
Leicester City comes in at 17th on the list, with owners Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha and family. Aiyawatt is the son of the former owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium in Leicester in October 2018.
The Srivaddhanaprabha family have made their fortune through their company King Power, which is the largest duty-free retailer in Thailand.
The first football match Vichai watched in England was the League Cup Final between Leicester City and Middlesbrough in 1997. Thirteen years later, in 2010, the Asia Football Investments consortium, including Vichai and Aiyawatt, purchased Leicester City, and in February 2011 Vichai became chairman of the club as well as owner. The Srivaddhanaprabha family are worth £5.2 billion, according to Forbes.