The list of the world’s richest sports team owners was published on Wednesday – and while American franchises still dominate the top 20, the English Premier League is starting to make its presence felt.
Six of the richest people in the list published by American business magazine Forbes own either American Football (NFL) teams and/or National Basketball Association (NBA) franchises and one man, Stan Kroenke, owns a major stake in no less than five teams, in five different major sports: NFL, NBA, EPL, ice hockey (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).
Five of the top 20 currently own EPL clubs, including Leicester City’s Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who comes out at 17th with a net worth of $5.9 billion (Bt187 billion).
There are two other notable features: London is the city that appears most in the elite group, with four EPL teams making the top 20: Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Fulham. Los Angeles follows with three.
However, it is a sport that lags far behind football, basketball and American football that takes top spot: Mukesh Ambani, owner of the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, is far and away the richest sports owner in the world.
On the pitch, 2018 was a dismal year for the Indians, who lost more than half of their games in the 11th season of the IPL. They had previously won the trophy three times in its first 10 years.
In the business world, however, it was another glittering year for Ambani, who owns the Indians through his Reliance Industries - he increased his net worth by $10 billion, to $50 billion, and his wealth has more than doubled over the past two years. Forbes says Ambani is not only the richest sports team owner in the world, he is also the 13th richest person on the planet and the richest person in India.
Steve Ballmer, owner of NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, remains No 2 on the list and the wealthiest owner of an American sports team, followed by Dietrich Mateschitz, the billionaire owner of the Red Bull energy drink company and its Formula One team.
Rounding out the five richest sports team owners are San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner ($13.5 billion) and Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich ($12.4 billion).