For a select cohort of billionaires, there is no clearer sign of success than owning a professional sports team. This not only means that you have created (or inherited) a billion dollar business, but that you have enough excess cash to commit hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, to buy a scarce American asset. .

In total, there are 150 professional sports teams among the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer. To bes have found over 40 billionaires who have controlling stakes in these teams, stakes that many of these owners have proven to be incredible investments.

Some of the wealthiest team owners in professional sports have managed to use the U.S. tax code to their advantage, reducing their tax burden to rates sometimes lower than those paid by players or even stadium workers, according to a report. of ProPublica which cites internal confidential information. Revenue service data.

Several team owners have deducted almost all of the purchase price of their teams from taxes on their future income, ProPublica found – a hefty sum, with NFL teams valued at over $ 2 billion while NBA teams are worth at least $ 1 billion. Others have used losses reported by their teams as write-offs to pay less tax on their other income. In the meantime, the fortunes of these billionaires, as well as the value of their teams, have increased dramatically.

Among those mentioned in the ProPublica report are Steve Ballmer, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA; David Tepper, owner of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL; Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA; and Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL. Since these teams were purchased by their current owners, their value has increased by an average of $ 155 million each year. Here’s how much richer these billionaires have become since acquiring their teams. (Billionaires net worth is as of July 12, 2021.)

Steve ballmer

  • Net worth: $ 81.6 billion
  • Team: LA Clippers (NBA), worth $ 2.75 billion (2021)
  • Increase in team value since purchase (2014): $ 750 million
  • Increase in personal net worth since purchase (2014): $ 59.1 billion
  • Team Championships: 0
  • Percentage of team gain since purchase: 62.2%

The Los Angeles Clippers have more than doubled in value since Ballmer bought the basketball team in 2014 for what was then a record $ 2 billion, although he hasn’t won a single championship. in the history of the team. Ballmer’s fortune has multiplied since his big purchase, which he made the same year he resigned as CEO of Microsoft. He has also stepped up his philanthropic efforts since then, putting more than $ 2 billion in a donor-advised fund aimed at lifting Americans out of poverty. According to the ProPublica report, Ballmer paid $ 78 million in taxes last year, giving him a federal tax rate of 12%.

David tepper

  • Net worth: $ 14.5 billion
  • Team: Carolina Panthers (NFL), worth $ 2.55 billion (2020)
  • Increase in team value since purchase (2018): $ 250 million
  • Rise in personal net worth since purchase (2018): $ 2.9 billion
  • Team Championships: 0
  • Percentage of team gain since purchase: 35.5%

Founder of Appaloosa Management, Tepper is arguably the greatest hedge fund manager of his time. At its peak, Appaloosa managed $ 20 billion in assets; it currently manages nearly $ 13 billion. Tepper bought the Panthers three years ago for $ 2.3 billion; ProPublica estimates that it was able to deduct $ 140 million per year for tax reduction purposes.

Dan Gilbert

  • Net worth: $ 38.5 billion
  • Team: Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), worth $ 1.56 billion (2021)
  • Increase in team value since purchase (2005): $ 1.2 billion
  • Increase in personal net worth since purchase (2005): $ 37.6 billion
  • Team championships: 1
  • Percentage of team wins since purchase: 49.8%

At 22, Gilbert founded what would later become Quicken Loans, the largest mortgage lender in the United States. He has accumulated most of his fortune since buying the Cavaliers in 2005. The team, for which he paid $ 375 million in 2005 and won their first-ever NBA championship in 2016, has jumped in value from more than 300% during its possession. According to ProPublica, Gilbert reduced his taxable income by a total of approximately $ 443 million from 2005 to 2018 thanks to depreciation expenses and the team’s financial losses.

Shahid Khan

  • Net worth: $ 8 billion
  • Team: $ 2.45 billion Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL) (2020)
  • Increase in team value since purchase (2012): $ 1.68 billion
  • Increase in personal net worth since purchase (2012): $ 5.5 billion
  • Team Championships: 0
  • Percentage of team wins since purchase: 27.1%

Khan owns auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate, with 69 factories worldwide and more than 26,000 employees. In 2019, he started WWE All Elite Wrestling contender with his son. Khan has amassed the majority of his fortune in the years since buying the Jaguars in 2011 for $ 770 million, a team that has won less than a third of its regular season games since the acquisition. Khan used at least $ 79 million in losses by the NFL team to ease his tax burden, according to ProPublica.