For the super rich, there are many ways in which they can utilize their vast wealth from mansions to yachts to trips to space but one of the splashiest ways to use your wealth is to buy a sports team. And for the most part, this has been an extremely wise investment as the values of major North American sports franchises have done nothing but go up.
When it comes to the NBA, quite a few fortunes has been made by owners who had stakes in franchises in 80's and earlier when the prospects for the NBA weren't as attractive as they are today.
For example, businessman Herb Kohl purchased the Milwaukee Bucks for $18M in 1985, ensured the team stayed in Wisconsin (a wise move as Kohl was elected to the Senate by the people of Wisconsin in 1988).
Since Kohl purchased the Bucks a lot has changed in the game, every game is now televised live and shown in 200+ countries around the world where many games were viewed via tape-delay. And as such, franchise values have skyrocketed as league-wide revenues have increased - during the 1982-83 season, NBA revenues were $118M ($280.9M in 2014 dollars) which has now grown to $4.6B for the 2012-13 season.
How has Kohl's $18M investment performed? He sold the franchise in 2014 for $550M, which is an NBA record and represents an annual rate of return of 12.07%.
Here is a look at the purchase price of each NBA team by their current franchise owner:
|Franchise||Principal Owner(s)||Owned Since||Purchase Price|
|Atlanta Hawks||Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon||2004||$208,000,000|
|Boston Celtics||H. Irving Grousbeck, Wycliffe Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca||2003||$360,000,000|
|Brooklyn Nets||Mikhail Prokhorov, Bruce Ratner||2010||$200,000,000|
|Charlotte Hornets||Michael Jordan||2010||$175,000,000|
|Chicago Bulls||Jerry Reinsdorf||1985||$16,000,000|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Dan Gilbert, Gary Gilbert, Gordon Gund||2005||$375,000,000|
|Dallas Mavericks||Mark Cuban||2000||$280,000,000|
|Denver Nuggets||Stan Kroenke||2000||$202,000,000|
|Detroit Pistons||Tom Gores||2011||$325,000,000|
|Golden State Warriors||Peter Guber, Joe Lacob||2010||$450,000,000|
|Houston Rockets||Leslie Alexander||1993||$85,000,000|
|Indiana Pacers||Herbert Simon||1983||$11,000,000|
|Los Angeles Clippers||Steve Ballmer||2014||$2,000,000,000|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Johnny, Jim and Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss family trust||1979||$16,000,000|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Robert J. Pera||2012||$350,000,000|
|Miami Heat||Micky Arison||1995||$33,000,000|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry||2014||$550,000,000|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Glen Taylor||1995||$89,000,000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Tom Benson||2012||$338,000,000|
|New York Knicks||James Dolan||1997||$300,000,000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Clayton Bennett||2006||$325,000,000|
|Orlando Magic||Richard DeVos||1991||$85,000,000|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Joshua Harris, Adam Aron||2011||$280,000,000|
|Phoenix Suns||Robert Sarver||2004||$404,000,000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Paul Allen||1988||$70,000,000|
|Sacramento Kings||Vivek Ranadivé||2013||$535,000,000|
|San Antonio Spurs||Peter Holt||1993||$75,000,000|
|Toronto Raptors||Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Larry Tanenbaum||1998||$179,000,000|
|Utah Jazz||Greg Miller||1985||$24,000,000|
|Washington Wizards||Ted Leonsis||2010||$350,000,000|
NBA record sale price for a team = $2,000,000,000 to Steve Ballmer for the Los Angeles Clippers, which is 3.5x as much as the previous high of $550,000,000 to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Lowest sale price since 1990 = $33,000,000 to Micky Arison for the Miami Heat
Lowest sale price since 2000 = $175,000,000 to Michael Jordan for the Charlotte Hornets
Total amount paid by current owners for the 30 franchises - $8,891,000,000.