An awesome status symbol for Wall Street financiers is owning a sports team.
Imagine the perks that come with the purchase of a sports team: the best seats at every game, hiring authority, cheerleaders, prestige.
For many of these guys, owning a team is the second best thing they can do after they can no longer play on the team.
Take Phil Falcone for example. A leg injury took him, a former hockey player, off the ice for good. But now he has the next best thing: the Minnesota Wild.
He brings his love for the game into the office, too. Harbinger has two funds named after hockey jargon (Blue Line and Breakaway), a conference room named “Blackhawk” and Falcone’s office is named “The Wild.”
Mikhail Prokhorov and the NJ Nets
Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire chairman of Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest gold producer, and President of Onexim Group, owns 80% of the NJ Nets.Prokhorov only recently bought the team in September of last year. Now he’s the primary owner alongside part owners Jay Z and Bruce Ratner.
Since then he’s been moving forward with plans to build a new arena for the Nets in Brooklyn. The stadium will be called “Barclays Center.”
Team value: ~$325 million (in 2007)
This season’s record: 7-59
Dermot Desmond and Celtic F.C.
Keith Mccullough and the Phoenix Coyotes
Keith Mccullough, the retired hedge fund manager of Falconhedge who is now the owner of hedgeye.com, doesn’t own the Phoenix Coyotes yet, but he wants to.When we spoke to him a couple of months ago, he thought the deal would finalize closer to March.
Team value: ~$142 million (in 2008)
This season’s record: 7-3-0
Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers
Stanley Druckenmiller and the Pittsburgh Steelers
Stanley Druckenmiller, the billionaire hedge fund manager of Duquesne Capital Management, bought a controlling stake in the Steelers in September 2009.Team value: ~$800 million.
Last season’s record: 9-7-0
Ellis Short and Sunderland A.F.C.
Ellis Short owns Lone Star Funds, a private equity fund with $24 billion in capital. The American took control of Sunderland in September of 2008.Team value: Owns 30% stake in Sunderland, which was valued at 10 million pounds ($15 million) in 2006.
This season’s record: 7-10-12 (currently in 14th)
Picture: Ellis Short on the right
Phil Falcone and the Minnesota Wild
Phil Falcone, the billionaire hedge fund manager of Harbinger, is a minority owner of the Minnesota Wild.No surprise there – he’s a huge hockey fan. Always has been. He played in high school, on the team at Harvard, and even signed on to play professionally with Malmo (a Swedish team).
Team value: ~$210 million
This season’s record: 4-4-2
Carson Yeung Ka Sing and Birmingham City F.C.
Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers
Tom Hicks co-founded the investment firm, Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst and is chairman of Hicks Holdings LLC, which owns and operates Hicks Sports Group. Hicks Sports Group is the company that owns the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars, Mesquite Championship Rodeo and fifty percent of the English football club Liverpool FC.Team value: ~$400 million (in 2008)
Last season’s record: 87-75 (points)
Jeff Vinik and the Tampa Bay Lightning
Jeff Vinik, who runs the Boston-based hedge fund, Vinik Asset Management, bought the Tampa Bay Lightning in early March 2010 for around $110 million.Team value: $170 million
This season’s record: 2-7-1
Randy Lerner and Aston Villa F.C.
Joe Lewis and Tottenham Hotspur
Joe Lewis, the billionaire owner of the Tavistock Group, also owns the English soccer team, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.He’s also connected to golf’s biggest sports star, Tiger Woods. Lewis is also the real estate developer behind Isleworth, the Orlando community where Tiger Woods lives.
Team value: $243 million
This season’s record: 15-7-7 (currently in fourth)
Thomas S. Rickets and the Chicago Cubs
Lester Crown and the Chicago Bulls
Billionaire financier Lester Crown owns the Chicago Bulls and part of the New York Yankees.Crown is most famous for running General Dynamics and Henry Crown & Co (Henry is Lester’s late father).
Team value: ~$500 million (in 2008)
This season’s record: 31-34