Billionaires are buying sports teams for different reasons than they used to – Business Insider
A new report by UBS and PwC found the total wealth
of the world’s billionaires grew by 17% in 2016 to $6
Billionaires, according to the report, are
turning their attention to sports.”
John Matthews, coauthor of the report, told Business
Insider that owning a sports team is not just an ego play for
Billionaire wealth grew by 17% to $6 trillion, according to a
report released Thursday by $3 trillion money manager UBS and
And a chunk of that money is going into sports.
Billionaires, according to the wide-ranging report, are looking
to leave their mark on history and are ramping up their
philanthropy efforts and patronage of the arts and sport.
“Billionaires are turning their attention to sports,” the report
said. “As the price tags on sports clubs appreciate,
often it’s only billionaires who have the financial
firepower to buy
them and make the necessary follow-on investments.”
In Asia, for instance, the uber wealthy are driving the growth of
soccer with billionaire’s like Alibaba’s Jack Ma funding
new training schools.
Wealthy people, of course, have always been patrons of sports
teams and clubs, but the reason why they are backing sports has
changed, according to John Matthews, one of the reports
coauthors. He told Business Insider that owning a
sports franchise used to be an ego play, and he
often advised his billionaire clients against buying teams.
“I would tell my clients the fastest way to become a millionaire
is to become a billionaire and then buy a sports team,” he
Today the motivation behind owning a team is more pragmatic.
As such, Matthews thinks it makes good sense for some
billionaires to buy a team. For instance, owning a sports team
can help billionaires connect with communities they might have
business interests in.
“Yet owning a sports club is more than a prestige project or
business venture,” the report said. “In the US and to a certain
extent in Europe, this is a chance to promote your community, to
establish a legacy as the person who took the community’s sports
club to great success.”
Owning a team can also open the door to other business
“One billionaire told us that you do not really buy sports clubs
for financial returns,” the report said. “Instead it opens
the door to amazing people – you sit at the table with ‘stars,
sheikhs, famous businessmen and regular guys from around the
world, all in the same room, all talking only about the ball.’”
The report said 109 billionaires own the top 140 sports brands.
The average age of these tycoons is 68. Here’s an overview of the
sports teams owned by billionaires: