Super Famous Celebrity Sports Team Owners
Where’s the best place to spot celebrities outside of a red carpet event? A home game at their favorite team’s stadium! It may seem unlikely, but many entertainers, actors, musicians, and even famous athletes are more than just spectators – they’re celebrity sports team owners.
Hollywood has infiltrated the sports world in a way that many fans would never imagine. These celebrities have taken their fandom to the next level, putting their giant paychecks behind their favorite teams. They can call themselves more than a superfan – they’re real deal owners. And you’ll be surprised to see who loves to invest in a piece of the action…
Jimmy Buffett – Miami Dolphins, NFL
In 2009, transcendent musician Jimmy Buffett, known for his island-in-a-can country-pop hits like “Margaritaville” took his football fandom to new heights. His company, Landshark Lager – a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch based in Jacksonville, FL – partnered with the Miami Dolphins to name the stadium “Landshark Stadium” for eight months.
It makes a lot of sense for Buffett’s Florida-based company to partner up with the Dolphins to launch brand awareness to new heights. However, we must acknowledge that Buffett made the ultimate sacrifice, as the diehard New Orleans Saints fan put money over having a game time cheeseburger in paradise… the Superdome.
Justin Timberlake – Memphis Grizzlies, NBA
Before Justin Timberlake transformed into super ultra extra megastar pop icon, he was just a kid living life in Memphis, TN. Growing up in a city that prides itself as the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll” had a pretty obvious impact on Timberlake’s life, but so did sports.
The avid sports fan surely had an itch that needed scratching for some time, and he accomplished that task with a minority stake in the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. For a minority owner, JT brings a whole lot of star power to the Grizz.
Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Rollins – NRG eSports
Sports as we know it are… well, sometimes not even really sports anymore. That brings us to our next trio of investors – Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins – who made a living as star athletes and are now putting those earnings into the future of competition, eSports.
Shaq, A-Rod and Rollins purchased NRG eSports in 2016, a Los Angeles based organization that fields rosters in a variety of video games such as Fortnite and Overwatch. With an All-Star squad ownership like this trio offers, NRG pretty much has no choice but to succeed.
Will Ferrell – LA FC, MLS
Remember the time Will Ferrell proved he’s not only one of the funniest character actors in the world, but he’s also a baseball legend, capable of playing 10 MLB positions in the same day? Well, our favorite Buddy also has some serious love for soccer.
Ferrell hopped on an opportunity in 2016 to invest in an MLS expansion team, and he is now a part-owner of Los Angeles FC. Ferrell isn’t the only celeb to hop in this opportunity, as legendary athletes Magic Johnson and Mia Hamm also bought ownership.
Usher – Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA
Usher is a one stop shop for sensational singing, songwriting and dancing. So, what’s a music mogul do in his spare time? Well, in Usher’s case, he sets his sights on becoming a mogul elsewhere, and kicked that journey off the right way by investing in the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Usher and a group of investors purchases the Cavs for $375 million in 2005 as the team is now worth an added billion on top of the initial investment. Tack on an NBA Championship in 2016, and we got us one very happy R&B owner.
Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons – Los Angeles KISS
If there is even the slightest notion that a window of opportunity to make money is open, you can bet that legendary rock group KISS is going to go for it. From the multi-platinum group that has sold every bit of merch imaginable from KISS comics to coffins (excuse us, “Kiss Kasket”), they stepped it up here.
The Starchild and The Demon, or Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons as everyone outside of the KISS Army calls them, went all out buying an AFL team in 2014. The Los Angeles based team, known as the LA KISS, lasted from 2014-16, which may be a failure for most pro teams, but it’s right on part for the survival rate of arena football teams.
Jay-Z – Brooklyn Nets, NBA
Jay-Z has transcended the rap game and turned his iconic name into one that is also known as a trailblazing business mogul. New York’s own invested in the home squad by purchasing a minority share of the Brooklyn Nets in 2004.
Jay-Z also played a huge role in getting the recently named “Brooklyn” Nets to leave New Jersey and play in… you know… Brooklyn. As soon as the Nets began playing in the Barclays Center, Jay-Z was gone, selling off his stake in the team to open a player agency.
George W. Bush – Texas Rangers, MLB
Well before George W. Bush became president, he was co-owner of the Texas Rangers. After making a killing in the oil industry, joining a group of investors to purchase the team in Arlington, TX proved to be another success.
Bush did more than dump money into the team, he remained highly active in the franchise and was often at the games. An investment that totaled less than $1 million garnered some $15 million before Bush took office as the Governor of Texas in ’95.
Fergie – Miami Dolphins, NFL
In 2009, Fergie joined the weirdly celebrity-filled cast of minority owners of the Miami Dolphins. Even though the Black Eyed Peas singer is a California native, it’s hard to blame the West Coaster for buying into some East Coast action.
The only thing that briefly held back Fergie from becoming an official part-owner any sooner was that she was on tour in Australia. Beautiful sunshine holding her back from owning another sweet piece of beautiful sunshine – not exactly the worst roadblock in the world.
Elton John – Watford FC
Few musicians have had the type of cultural impact as Elton John has had on the world. While there’s nothing better than listening to some of his greatest jams like “Rocket Man,” there’s little he loves more than watching soccer.
John embraced his lifelong love for Watford FC by purchasing the team in 1976. He served as the team’s chairman/director until selling the club in 1987 only to buy it again in 1997. Though John again stepped down in 2002, he has remained the team’s “honorary president” since.
Jon Bon Jovi – Philadelphia Soul, AFL
Some people are born with the mind-boggling ability to turn everything they touch into gold. No doubt, Jon Bon Jovi is one of the mega ballers. Since being celebrity is super boring, the rock god decided to try his hand in the sports world.
In 2004, Bon Jovi launched a new AFL team, the Philadelphia Soul. Considering HOF quarterback Ron Jaworski bought in as a minority owner, you know he was bound for success. Before the league disbanded, the rockstar owner’s squad went to three straight playoffs including a league championship (2008). The AFL disbanded the following year, and Jaworski took over as the new team owner in its 2011 return.
Ted Turner – Atlanta Braves, MLB
Ah, to be rich. Scratch that. Ah, to be so rich that rich people think you’re rich. That’s the life of Ted Turner, the media mogul who founded CNN and TNT amongst many other stations and is known for his philanthropic efforts like the time he donated one billion dollars to the United Nations.
Amongst Turner’s ridiculously expensive endeavors was his purchase of the Atlanta Braves in 1976. As with everything else, Turner was extremely involved in his ownership, even attempting to be manager (which was put to an end after one game). Turner’s ownership ended in 1996, but not before the Braves claimed the World Series pennant the year prior.
Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith – Philadelphia 76ers, NBA
We all know that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was originally in West Philadelphia… born and raised. Will Smith’s time in Philly didn’t end there, though. In 2011, Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith purchased a minority stake in the NBA team.
Since the Smiths’ ownership, they have witnessed a lot more shots that look like Carlton’s Bel-Air disaster than Smith’s A-game. Fortunately, Sam Hinkie died for Philly’s sins and a slew of No. 1 picks finally has the Sixers on the road to success.
Bill Murray – St. Paul Saints (and Others), Minor League Baseball
Bill Murray has made an everlasting impression in comedy and film. His deadpan humor is transcendent, influencing so many in and out of the industry. Part of what makes Murray so legendary is his preference for simplicity rather than the outlandish Hollywood lifestyle. Okay, Murray may prefer simple things like attending baseball games, especially seeing his hometown Cubbies, but he does have loads of cash to throw around, so why not?
Murray is a part-owner of numerous minor league squads: Charleston Riverdogs, Hudson Valley Renegades, Brockton Rox, Utica Blue Sox, Fort Myers Miracle, Salt Lake Sting, Catskill Cougars and Salt Lake City Trappers. Most notably, his ownership in the St. Paul Saints has held epically Murray-esque promotions.
Bill Maher – New York Mets, MLB
Bill Maher has reached a level of celebrity that very few can understand. His work as a comedian, political commentator and strong stances put forth in works like Religulous have made him a recognizable face worldwide.
For a guy who made an entire documentary on how stupid religion is, one would think he (being a native New Yorker) would be smart enough to know investing in a team as sad as the New York Mets would reap the equivalent of zero benefits. Nonetheless, Maher finds himself a minority owner in the Mets.
Drew Carey – Seattle Sounders, MLS
Stand-up comedian, sitcom star, game show host – Drew Carey does it all while repping his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Celebrity sports team owners usually invest in teams from their home city. Except for Carey. The man who regularly reminded us on his eponymously named TV show that “Cleveland rocks!” is actually rooting for another sports city.
Despite Carey’s devotion to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Browns and Indians, he is actually a minority owner of the Seattle Sounders of the MLS. You can’t blame the man for good taste. In 2016, Carey got to hold up the MLS Cup when the Sounders took down Toronto FC in penalty shots to claim their first ever league championship.
Nick Lachey – Tacoma Rainiers, MiLB
Oh snap, we got us a ‘90s alert, people! Nick Lachey, a member of the one of the decade’s quintessential boy bands, 98 Degrees, has had quite the eventful life outside of his music career. Along with launching his own solo career, marrying singer Jessica Simpson, starring in a reality show on MTV documenting their life, and taking various acting roles on television, Lachey turned his passion for sports into an investment.
Lachey and a group of investors purchased Minor League Baseball team the Tacoma Rainiers in 2007. The Rainiers, a Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. In 2010, Lachey’s Rainiers claimed the Pacific Coast League Championship. The team’s second ever league title resulted in the team’s first ever berth into the Triple-A National Championship Game.
John Candy – Toronto Argonauts, CFL
John Candy may have been born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but he grew into an American icon for his various roles in film and television that still keep us laughing today. Candy showed some serious love to his Canadian roots by joining two big names to buy a football team in the CFL.
Along with Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall and NHL/Kings superstar Wayne Gretzky, Candy purchased the Toronto Argonauts in 1991. He helped snagged NCAA star receiver Raghib Ismail and won the Grey Cup that year. Unfortunately, Candy passed just three years later.
Bob Hope – Cleveland Indians, MLB
Although legendary entertainer Bob Hope was born in England, he spent his childhood growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. One would think Hope was completely engulfed in his work pioneering the entertainment industry, but the comedian/singer/author extraordinaire did far more.
Hope was known to be an avid sports enthusiast, especially golf and boxing. He also clearly loved baseball, as he bought a stake in his local team, the Cleveland Indians. Hope had also bought into the Los Angeles Rams with Bing Crosby in 1947 but sold it in 1962.
David Letterman – Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar Racing Team
David Letterman dished out jokes for half a decade and yet fans still aren’t sick of him. First Letterman tirelessly served as a fan-favorite comedian for a decade; then became America’s quintessential late night television host for another 40 years. All along, he kept himself occupied with his car obsession.
Letterman grew his childhood passion for automobiles from collecting models as a child to creating Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The racing team competes in the United SportsCar Championship and the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Russell Crowe – South Sydney Rabbitohs
Russell Crowe’s long-running film career has made him a Hollywood hero over the years. Despite his status as an American pop icon, Crowe was actually born in New Zealand and raised in Australia for much of his youth.
Crowe’s upbringing halfway around the hemisphere means that when it comes to sports, a passion for rugby is in his blood. In 2006, Crowe became co-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs of the National Rugby League.
Tom Clancy – Baltimore Orioles, MLB / Minnesota Vikings (Almost), NFL
Espionage, double-cross, collusion: any of these options could have been the reason behind why spy/crime thriller novelist Tom Clancy was unable to close a deal to buy the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. Actually, the novelist can blame that on a costly separation from his wife, but he did still get his hands on another team.
The Baltimore native responsible for great works like The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games used his massively successful pieces to grab a piece of his hometown team. In 1993, Clancy became part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles. In 2014, one year after Clancy’s passing, the team honored him by wearing a patch with his name for the season.
Steve Aoki – Rogue, eSports
EDM has taken over the world, as new festivals pop up around the globe every day. DJ/producer Steve Aoki has played a major role in launching electro house style into the forefront of house music, and now he’s branching out to new electronic endeavors.
In 2016, Aoki jumped in for partial ownership of eSports organization Rogue. With top competitors in games like League of Legends and Overwatch, eSports company ReKTGlobal decided to partner up with Aoki to take the team to new heights.
Gloria Estefan – Miami Dolphins, NFL
Born in Havana, Cuba, Ms. Estefan created a sultry voice and spicy flavor growing up in Miami, FL that had us sweating in all sorts of ways we didn’t know possible. Along going platinum many times over with her group, Miami Sound Machine, and solo act, she also got into some other Miami action.
In 2009, Estefan bought a stake in the Miami Dolphins. Although Estefan’s investment made her just one of the Fins’ many celebrity sports team owners, it marked another milestone. Estefan became the first person of Hispanic heritage to gain a minority stake in an NFL team.
Gene Autry – Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels, MLB
Turn them clocks back to a simpler time, a (baffling) time when the singing cowboy was an archetype America bought hook, line and sinker. Nobody rocked the singing cowboy routine quite like Gene Autry, who is also responsible for such holiday classics as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
As if a rugged cowboy and “Frosty the Snowman” don’t already make for enough of an eclectic career, Autry added MLB owner under his belt. Autry, who actually had an opportunity to compete in the minors, owned a stake in the Angels when the expansion team first came to Los Angeles in 1961. He maintained ownership between, as the Angels went from “Los Angeles” to “California” to “Anaheim” before selling after 36 years.
Burt Reynolds –Tampa Bay Bandits, USFL
Burt Reynolds is a straight up legend. From his award-winning role in Boogie Nights (nice) to his iconic role as Bandit in Smokey and the Bandit, Reynolds has been the bad boy of the entertainment industry since most of us were still in diapers.
A standout halfback who played on a scholarship at Florida State, Reynolds continued his football fandom into his adult years, becoming co-owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits in 1982. The team was named after the iconic trilogy that helped make his name a household one.
Tim McGraw – Nashville Kats, AFL
Country music superstar Tim McGraw could have very well been known as an athlete rather than musician. McGraw’ father, Tug McGraw, enjoyed an MLB career as a pitcher that spanned two decades and resulted in two All-Star selections and two World Series championships.
Tim followed pop’s footsteps into college until a knee injury ended his potential path to the pros. Though it wasn’t baseball, the country star purchased a minority stake in in the Nashville Kats of the AFL (2005). Unfortunately, the team’s second run was about as successful as its first – the team disbanded in 2007.
Nelly – Charlotte Bobcats, NBA
In the 2000s, Nelly was one of the hottest rappers on the planet. In fact, Nelly’s discography has reached such a widespread following that he is one of the highest selling rappers of all time despite not having released an album since 2013.
The Country Grammar star has cashed in on his gift for bangers and turned that income into an array of entrepreneurial investments and endeavors. On the list of Nelly’s business resume is his minority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats. Since Nelly’s 2010 investment, Charlotte’s NBA has been purchased by Michael Jordan and readopted its initial name as the Hornets.
Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez – Miami Dolphins, NFL
Oh my sweet Latin lovin’, could there be a hotter, more successful couple than Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony? The combined collection of any and every music/acting award would suggest no. Their divorce in 2014 would suggest yes.
The former power couple may not still be together, but that doesn’t negate their getting in on the celeb action and nabbing a piece of the Miami Dolphins (yes, the Fins again) in 2009. Sheesh, talk about a whole lot of star power buying into the Fins’ losing philosophy.