Intro to Sports Industry
They’re No Jackie Moon
Chris Rock told this great joke once, to help differentiate between black and white levels of wealth in this country. One punch line of the joke stated “Shaq is rich, the little white guy that signs his checks, is wealthy.” The vast space between rich and wealthy is probably larger than the gap between middle class and rich. The wealthy sports owner owns part of the 1% of the total wealth in this country, let along this world. Almost all are businessmen, and have either made their money with hard work, ingenuity, nepotism, or a little luck. The owners of old have long been retired. The idea of an old miser that treats his team like slaves, and does everything in his power to control the game, no longer exists…outside of Jerry Jones.
Mark Cuban is the youngest billionaire on this list. Cuban made his money creating and developing Audionet, an internet startup in 1995, and developed it into Broadcast.com, and by 1999 sold the company to Yahoo! for $5.9 billion dollars. He also owns Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures. He is estimated to be worth around $2.3 billion dollars. He is also the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks. In 2000, Mark Cuban purchased the failing Mavericks from H. Ross Perot, Jr. for what can be now described as a mere $285 million dollars.
Unlike most owners who sit in a private box up high away from the crowd, Cuban is usually found on the floor shouting louder than any two fans. Unlike most owners, he has become just as recognizable as Dirk Nowitski, or any of the other players. This eccentric behavior has also been a bit of a problem for Cuban as well. He is constantly fined for outbursts, arguing with officials and noticeable temper tantrums on the floor during games. For years Cuban has been trying to expand into baseball by trying to buy the Chicago Cubs, the LA Dodgers, and the Texas Rangers. Baseball is an older sport more steeped in tradition and less likely to allow an eccentric outsider to govern a team.
Missouri Born Stan Kroenke made his early millions in the early 80’s starting the Kroenke Group by developing real estate for commercial purposes. He married Anne Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, and was able to capitalize on the rise of Wal-Mart, and the convenience of their locations. He would help create commercial markets around the areas of Wal-Mart’s around the country. His love of sports, though, would prove to be his biggest venture and largest payoff.
Kroenke may have made his early billions beginning in real estate in the early 1980’s. He has since been better known as a sports business mogul, and multisport owner. He currently owns 40% of the St Louis Rams, and is sole owner of the Colorado Rapids, the Colorado Mammoth, the Colorado Crush, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Denver Nuggets. He also owns the English Premier League team the Arsenal. He currently owns the Pepsi Center and is estimated to be worth around $5 billion dollars.
Although being named Detroit’s richest citizen doesn’t seem to be that impressive considering the current state of…