Billionaires influence in world sport is no new occurrence. The emergence of billionaires willing and very able to refurbish teams started back in the early 1990’s when football’s entrepreneurship potential began to show. They always take the back seat away from the cameras and the board room.
If you are lucky enough, you will see them in very dark trench coats and hats at the VIP section of the stadium during match week. They seldom address the media, but everything that goes on at the club passes through them. they are the team owners of the biggest clubs in the world. Highly respected and overly quiet, the football billionaires only need silverware and prestige from the club, and in return, big money signings in coaches and players; whatever it takes to bring in the silverware.
Here are the Top 10 Richest Owners In Football in 2017-2018
10. Joe Lewis – net worth $5.3 billion – (Tottenham Hotspur)
When it comes to extravagance and luxury no one can beat Joe Lewis at his game. The Briton is the owner of Tavistock Group with numerous investments in currency trading, medical research, life sciences, manufacturing, oil, gas, energy and sports. He is the current owner and president of English side Tottenham Hotspur. Notably, he formerly owned Scottish side Glasgow Rangers FC. Joe Lewis is an art collector with a fortune of over $1 billion. In 2015 he made news headlines when he announced that he wanted to sell Tottenham Hotspurs for no less than $1.5 billion. It would be interesting to see who will be able to match such an outrageous offer.
9. Silvio Berlusconi – net worth $7.2 billion (AC-Milan)
The Italian politician cum investor is the sixth richest man in Italy. His vast interests in publication, finance and sport earn him fortunes. In 1986 Silvio Berlusconi purchased dying Italian giants AC Milan and subsequently became its president. Until 2012 the Italian had a successful spell at the helm of the club. He was a major part of the clubs success in Italy and Europe. Berlusconi was instrumental in building an AC Milan side that was unconquerable in Europe and one that dominated Champions League football for over a decade. In recent years AC Milan’s fire seems to have died out and even Silvio might not be able to return the club back to its glory hay days.
8. Stanley Kroenke – net worth $7.4 billion (Arsenal FC)
Kroenke is known worldwide by Arsenal FC fans. The American businessman is the largest shareholder of English champions Arsenal with stake of 62.89%. Kroenke’s tenure at the helm of Arsenal has been one full of dismay. Since his takeover, Arsenal has failed to win a Premier League title even though the club has a huge financial arsenal that can be able to sign the services of some of the best players in the world. Through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises Kroenke has been able to purchase various teams in the NFL and Europe.
7. Shahid Khan – net worth $7.5 billion (Fulham FC)
The richest man of Pakistani origin is part of the many American businessmen who have vast investments in sports. The shrewd businessman makes his fortunes from manufacturing automobile parts through his company Flex-N-Gate. He is ranked as the 84th richest person in America by Forbes Magazine. Shahid Khan is the current owner of English Championship side Fulham FC. He purchased the club in 2013 for a fee ranging between 150 and 200 million euros. The American-Pakistani also owns NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars in the USA.
6. Dmitry Rybolovlev – net worth $8.5 billion (AS Monaco)
Dmitry is a Russian billionaire and was ranked 156th in Forbes Rich list. The businessman has had a rocky public life majorly due to his many controversies. Despite all these Dmitry has been able to make a huge investment in the football world. In 2011 he gained majority ownership of AS Monaco and became its president. During his time at the club many talented young football players have come through the ranks and are currently playing for some of the biggest clubs in Europe. He is currently the 14th richest man in Russia.
5. Roman Abramovich – net worth $8.8 billion (Chelsea FC)
Whenever you hear the words Chelsea FC the name Roman Abramovich is never far too off. The Russian billionaire is the owner of London side Chelsea and his huge financial power has been instrumental in the clubs total makeover and success. Since his acquisition of the club in 2003 Chelsea has been able to become one of the top teams in Europe. Their huge success on and off the pitch have seen the club attract some of the biggest players and managers in the world. Roman Abramovich is considered a passionate football fun and he undoubtedly expects results from his team. This has seen him use an astonishing ten different managers since he acquired the club.
4. Philip Anschutz – net worth $12.4 billion (LA Galaxy)
Soccer in America was once a dormant sport in the 1990s but its huge growth today is largely due to investors such as Anschutz. He is among the co-founders of the American Major League Soccer franchise. The American business man originally gained his billions from running a drilling company but later decided to delve into sports. His investments have seen the birth of MLS sides such as Los Angeles Galaxy, Chicago Fire, Huston Dynamo and the New York MetroStars. Philip Anschutz is also a big investor in the NBA where he owns the Los Angeles Lakers.
3. Dietrich Mateschitz – net worth $14.7 billion (NY Red Bulls)
Dietrich is the brains behind the Red Bull energy drink franchise. The Australian businessman has always been a sports enthusiast and has ensured his Red Bull brand is at the heart of major sporting activities in the world. In 2006 Mateschitz successfully purchased MLS side MetroStars but later renamed the club New York Red Bulls. His football investments have seen him build and found various teams in Brazil and Austria. Most recently he founded RB Leipzig which has become a wonder team in Germany. In just 8 years RB Leipzig has been promoted to the Bundesliga and is currently second behind league giants Bayern Munich. Dietrich is also the owner of Formula One team Red Bull and Sauber.
2. Francois Pinault – net worth $15.8 billion (Stade Rennais)
The 84th richest man in the world is a renowned art collector and self-made billionaire. Pinault is the owner of many high-end fashion lines such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. He is the current president of Ligue One side Stade Rennais. The businessman bought majority stake in the football club in 1998 and has remained at the helm of the club despite his advancing age. He has helped the side achieve remarkable success. Under his leadership the French side has been able to rise through the Ligue tiers and is currently playing in the Ligue One. Stade Rennais have significantly improved and they recorded their best league finish in their history when they finished a remarkable fifth.
1. Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan – net worth $38 billion (Manchester City FC, New York City FC)
Apart from being a member of the Abu Dhabi’s ruling class Mansour has made a niche for himself in the business arena. His shrewd investment ideas have seen him expand his stake in high-end businesses worldwide ranging from petroleum companies to football teams. In 2008, through his company, Mansour acquired Manchester City. This acquisition has been a huge boost to the current fortunes of the Citizens.
The Sheikhs big spending ability has helped City sign world class football stars who have brought the long forgotten success back to the Etihad. Apart from owning the English side Mansour successfully got majority ownership of MLS side New York City FC. These investments have seen the earnings of the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE double in over a short period.
A football owner’s ambition is to see the team win, win and win some more. While silverware is the ultimate prize, the owners seldom make it known of their intentions, probably avoiding backlash from players and managers alike. They will own the team, but football as a sport is protected by the Financial Fair-play rules overseen by both FIFA and UEFA. It is no mystery that if the cash comes beckoning, the team will win silverware, just ask Chelsea FC and Manchester City FC.