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16 Celebrities Who Own Sports Teams

by: Esteban On  Friday, May 4, 2012

celebrities who own sports teams

If you were a movie star making $15 million per movie, or a hip hop mogul worth $500 million, what would you do with all that dough? Build a school in Africa? Fund a new cancer wing at the hospital? Invest in mutual funds?

Hell no. You’re a sports nut. So you’d buy a sports team.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons for wanting to own a professional sports team, but making tons of money usually isn’t one of them. Sure, you can make tons of money. The really terrible owners usually do. But in most cases, if they want to dress a winning team, owners don’t make nearly as much money as they would if they just invested their money.

So really, being a team owner is a labor of love. You do it because you love the game and want to be a part of it. Or at least because you want to seem cool. But you don’t really do it for the money.

Today, let’s have a look at the most notable celebrity team owners around. Some you already know about, but I bet others will surprise you. Either way, they’re living your fantasy life…those bastards.

13. Nick Lachey

#13 nick lachey tacoma rainiers

Doesn’t Nick Lachey kind of piss you off? The guy wasn’t even in one of the good boy bands from the ’90s (98 Degrees), and yet he owns 1/3 of a baseball team and is married to Jeter’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa Minnillo. I mean, what a life this guy has.

Oh, and the baseball team is the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, farm team for the Seattle Mariners. Lachey purchased a share of the team in 2006, after he failed to become part-owner of his hometown Cincinnati Reds.

12. Michelle Williams

#12 michelle williams chicago sky owner

Former Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams, along with her former manager Matthew Knowles (yes, Beyoncé’s dad), became part owners of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky back in 2006. It made a lot of sense from the team’s point of view to have her as part owner—now they always someone good to sing the national anthem.

11. Tie – Gloria & Emilio Estefan

#11 gloria estefan emelio estefan miami dolphins owners

The majority owner of the Miami Dolphins is Stephen Ross. He owns around 95% of the team. Then there is Wayne Huizenga, who owns around 4% of the team. And, after that, splitting the remaining 1%, are a bunch of celebrities—including Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio.

11. Tie – Jimmy Buffet

#11 jimmy buffet miami dolphins owner

Also part owner of the Miami Dolphins? The Mayor of Margaritaville himself, Jimmy Buffet. The team brought him on board to lock up the over-50 Hawaiian shirt-wearing demographic.

11. Tie – Fergie

#11 fergie and j-lo miami dolphins owners

Fergie, with all her lovely lady humps, is also part owner of the Fins. Apparently they’ll sell a stake to anybody.

11. Tie – Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony

11-marc-anthony-jennifer-lopez-miami-dolphins-owners

Last but most definitely not least among the celebrity owners of the Miami Dolphins are J-Lo and her ex-hubby Marc Anthony. The Latin superstars may have split up, but they didn’t let that get in the way of their business interests. Not only do they still share their portion of the Dolphins, but they still work together on the Univision reality show ¡Q’Viva!: The Chosen.

10. Jon Bon Jovi

#10 bon jovi philadelphia soul owner

You would think with all that money (Bon Jovi earned $125 million in 2011 alone), JBJ could have bought himself a really cool sports team. Instead, from 2004 to 2010, he was co-owner of the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul. But hey, for what it’s worth, the Soul did win the ArenaBowl in 2008.

9. Drew Carey

9-drew-carey-owner-seattle-sounders

Turns out this former comedian-turned-host of The Price is Right is a big soccer fan—despite all the diving and low scoring games. Carey bought a minority stake in the Seattle Sounders back in 2009, and has since become the face of the franchise’s ownership group. And it turns out they’re doing something right up there in Seattle. The Sounders have MLS attendance records and made the playoffs in each of their first three years.

8. Elton John

elton-john-watford-fc-owner

Elton John grew up rooting for English soccer club Watford FC. So in 1977, the megastar said, hell, let’s buy the team. So he did. And he owned them for about 30 years.

During that time, the small team from Watford, Hertfordshire, had pretty great success, relatively speaking. They went from the fourth tier of the English football league system all the way to the Premier league and the Football League Championship (the second highest tier) on several occasions.

Sir Elton is no longer the team’s owner, but he is still a huge supporter and is active in raising money for the team. For all his loyalty and support, he’s been named Honorary President for Life.

7. Nelly

#7 nelly owner charlotte bobcats

Rapper Nelly is famous for his loyalty to his hometown, St. Louis. However, the guy really wanted to own an NBA team, and since St. Louis can’t seem to get one, he had to go to Charlotte. There, Nelly is part-owner of the absolutely putrid Charlotte Bobcats, along with Michael Jordan and BET founder Robert L. Johnson.

6. Usher

usher-cleveland-cavaliers-owner

Usher purchased a stake in the Cleveland Cavaliers back when they were cool—which is to say, back when LeBron played there, circa 2005. So for a while, court-side seats at Cavs games were a hot commodity among celebs. Today, Usher is still part owner, but the Cavaliers have lost a lot (which is to say, every last ounce) of their cachet.

5. David Letterman

David-Letterman-Indy-500-rahal-racing

Late Show host David Letterman grew up in Indianapolis, so of course he’s a huge auto racing fan. He bought a small share of Team Rahal in 1996, then increased his ownership percentage in 2004, when Team Rahal became Rahal Letterman Racing. Today they race mostly in the American Le Mans Series, but they regularly compete in the Indy 500, which they won in 2004 with Buddy Rice as their driver.

4. Bill Murray

#4 bill murray owner st. paul saints

Here’s a guy who’s in it for love of the game and nothing else. Bill Murray is part owner of not one but four minor league baseball teams: the St. Paul Saints, the Fort Myers Miracle, the Hudson Valley Renegades, and the Charleston Seadogs. He’s been known to just show up at games on any given night, in any of these locations, and just hang out with fans, sell programs, coach first base, and basically do whatever he feels like doing. But no matter what that is, he’s always having a good time.

3. Russell Crowe

#3 Russell Crowe south sydney rabbitohs owner

At #3 we have another guy whose team ownership is a labor of love. In 2006, Australian Russell Crowe bought his favorite rugby team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Since then he’s been a very hands on owner, and has used his international celebrity to attract lucrative sponsorships for the team.

2. Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith

will-smith-jada-pinkett-76ers-owners

Everyone knows Will Smith is from West Philadelphia, born and raised, and that on the playground is where he spent most of his days. So when he and his wife had the chance to buy a stake in the Philadelphia 76ers last July, it was a no-brainer. Yeah, they’re just minority owners, but very visible ones who are great for PR.

1. Jay-Z

#1 jay z brooklyn nets owner

At #1 we have Jay-Z. In 2010, he bought a minority stake in the Nets. And unlike most other owners on this list, Mr. Z’s investment is probably going to appreciate considerably.

That’s because they have now officially rebranded the team. Part one was just being associated with Jay-Z. Part two was moving from lame New Jersey (sorry, New Jersey) to hip Brooklyn. And part three was coming up with a cool new logo. So mark my words: Nets apparel will be the hottest NBA gear for the next 5 years, meaning the Nets themselves will actually be a cool team.

So it’s a good time to be Jay-Z. And that’s why he takes the top spot.




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