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Unexpected Celebs Who Own Successful Sports Teams

Celebs

| LAST UPDATE 10/23/2022

By Mahlik Campbell

Celebrities are always looking for creative ways to spend their cold hard cash. And for those who are sports fanatics, this is often a pretty easy choice. Find out which celebs put their money on their favorite sports teams.

David Beckham – Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (MLS)

While David Beckham is most famous for playing on the field himself, he’s also one of the sportsmen who's taken part in ownership. Despite investing in various entrepreneurial activities, from clothing to fragrances and other sponsorships, he understandably felt the need to give back to his own sport.

David Beckham- Club Internacional de Fútbol MiamiDavid Beckham- Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami
Michael Janosz/ISI Photos via Getty Images

Since he no longer resides in the UK, Beckham decided to lead an ownership group within the MLS (Major League Soccer) in 2014, with hopes of launching a Miami-based team. The team is called the Club Internacional de Futbol Miami, or Inter FC for short, and played their first MLS game in March 2020.

David Letterman – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (IndyCar)

This late-night talk show host may have made his fame and fortune through entertaining both celebrities and audiences, but he has also spent a great deal of his career pursuing other passions. These include music, producing film and documentaries, and a lifelong love of cars and car racing.

David Letterman- Rahal Letterman Lanigan, IndyCar Racing TeamDavid Letterman- Rahal Letterman Lanigan, IndyCar Racing Team
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s this passion that puts him on our list. In 1996, Letterman became co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, an auto racing team that has competed in the IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He shares ownership with long-time friend and Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and businessman Mike Lanigan.

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Nelly – Charlotte Hornets (NBA)

Rapper and songwriter Nelly is known for his entrepreneurial pursuits. He founded a music production school in the past, so it may not be a surprise to hear that he's now a sports team owner. He also released a celebrity fitness DVD and owns two clothing lines. Pretty busy guy!

Nelly-Charlotte BobcatsNelly-Charlotte Bobcats
Noel Vasquez via Getty Images

In 2004, Nelly became a co-owner of the NBA team the Charlotte Hornets, which were known as the Bobcats at the time and named after prestigious American entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson, who was the primary owner for many years. Yet he was bought out of his shares by NBA legend Michael Jordan in 2010.

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Drew Carey – Seattle Sounders (MLS)

Drew Carey was one of America’s most-watched comedians in the 90s and early 2000s, with hit shows like The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway?. People don’t typically make any connections between comedians and pro sports, so it may be a shock to know that this funnyman is a huge soccer fan.

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While he is reportedly a fan of wrestling and professional poker too, it’s soccer that is his true passion. In 2007, he became a minority owner of a new MLS football club, the Seattle Sounders. They are one of the most successful teams in the US, winning the MLS championship on two occasions.

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Bill Murray – Charleston RiverDogs and More (MLB Minor Leagues)

Though he stays out of the limelight these days, Bill Murray is a mythic figure in Hollywood. He’s known as much for his classic film and television roles as he is for his whacky public antics over the years. But one thing he isn’t as known for is his enthusiasm for sports.

Bill Murray- St. Paul Saints (and Others)Bill Murray- St. Paul Saints (and Others)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Murray is a fan of both basketball and baseball, though it’s the latter that has attracted his business interests. He is a co-owner of the St. Paul Saints of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, as well as the MLB Minor League squads the Charleston RiverDogs and Hudson Valley Renegades. Touching all the bases!

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Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony – Miami Dolphins (NFL)

Celebrity couples are known for their lavish displays of affection, though they normally come in the form of flashy jewelry and prime real estate. But when it comes to iconic pop divas like J-Lo, it just seems appropriate that she and her ex-hubby Marc Anthony chose something a little different.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony- Miami DolphinsJennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony- Miami Dolphins
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

In 2008, the glamorous couple became shared minority owners of the NFL team the Miami Dolphins. They were even gifted with their own Dolphins jerseys, each with a number representing their birthdays. Though they have since divorced, Anthony remains a partner, with the former couple's shares being transferred to him.

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Jon Bon Jovi – Philadelphia Soul (AFL)

Best known as the frontman for the Grammy Award-winning band Bon Jovi, the “It’s My Life” singer has certainly taken his life into his own hands. Not content to simply be a famous musician, Jon Bon Jovi has also been closely involved in the world of professional sports.

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Beyond simply holding shares in a pre-existing team, Bon Jovi helped to found the Arena Football League (AFL) team the Philadelphia Soul in 2004, establishing himself as a majority co-owner along with Craig Spencer. Sadly in 2010, he would have to diminish his shares in the team due to prolonged difficulties with his band's tour schedule.

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Steve Aoki – Rogue (eSports)

DJing and sports may seem like two very different areas of interest, but try telling that to Steve Aoki. The famed electronic DJ/producer clearly wasn’t satisfied keeping his career relegated to the stage and his passion for gaming has led him to some serious investments in the industry.

Steve Aoki- Rogue, eSportsSteve Aoki- Rogue, eSports
Noel Vasquez via Getty Images

In 2016 the international DJ decided to invest in the eSports company Rogue, which owns multiple teams that compete in League Of Legends and Overwatch championships. Reps for the company said, "We couldn’t be happier that we met Steve when we did. His genuine passion for the eSports scene was exactly what we were looking for."

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Gloria Estefan – Miami Dolphins (NFL)

Gloria Estefan may have spent the 80s and 90s belting out pop ballads for her adoring fans, but behind the scenes, she was working on some surprising business ventures. The Cuban-American songstress and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan, decided to invest in some local teams.

Gloria Estefan- Miami DolphinsGloria Estefan- Miami Dolphins
John Parra via Getty Images

Both hailing from Miami, where they spent their formative years, the power couple decided to show their home team some support, buying minority stakes in the Miami Dolphins in 2009. While they aren’t major shareholders, this is noteworthy as they were the first Hispanic-Americans to buy a stake in an NFL team.

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Russell Crowe – South Sydney Rabbitohs (National Rugby League)

Though his career is tied up in American cinema, actor Russell Crowe has spent most of his life in Australia. So it’s not too surprising that he is a life-long fan of rugby, one of the country’s most beloved sports. While he also has a love of cricket, soccer and football, the rugby league is his greatest athletic love.

Gareth Copley via Getty Images

And this certainly shows in his business ventures! Crowe is a majority owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, his favorite team since childhood. He is well-known for promoting the team internationally, and in 2006 even arranged for the team to be sponsored by his film Cinderella Man.

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Elton John – Watford FC (Championship League)

British pop royalty Elton John is another celebrity who has used his wealth and fame to get close to a sports team he's loved since childhood. That team is Watford FC, the same team he watched growing up in Middlesex, England. Elton John has been a patron of professional sports in many ways since the 1970s.

Elton John- Watford FCElton John- Watford FC
Charlie Crowhurst via Getty Images

In 1976, he became the chairman and director of Watford FC at only 29 years old, investing heavily in the football club during his tenure. He sold the team in 1987, retaining his role as president, but had a clear change of heart when he rebought in 1997. He was also briefly co-owner of the Los Angeles Aztecs in the mid-70s.

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Will Ferrell – Los Angeles FC (MLS)

It seems comedy and pro sports are more compatible than we thought! Famous funnyman Will Ferrell is another comedian who has taken the unlikely plunge into sports ownership. When he's not making us hurt from laughter, he is a self-proclaimed fan of both baseball and soccer.

Will Ferrell- LA FCWill Ferrell- LA FC
Leopoldo Smith via Getty Images

He proved this in 2016 when he became a co-owner of the Los Angeles FC. He discussed his investment in the team openly, saying, “[I enjoy] the fact that it's played all over the world. So many amazing players and so many top-flight leagues. And hopefully, MLS can be on par, eventually, with the European leagues."

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Michelle Williams – Chicago Sky (WNBA)

This former Destiny’s Child singer is more than just a “Survivor.” She’s been thriving over the past two decades as both a successful solo artist and an acclaimed Broadway actress. What a career! And as if that wasn’t enough already, she has also turned her interests to professional sports.

Michelle Williams- Chicago SkyMichelle Williams- Chicago Sky
Noel Vasquez via Getty Images

Back in 2006, it was announced that Williams had purchased a minority ownership in the new WNBA team Chicago Sky. When asked about her new position, Williams said, "It's great to be part of an organization such as the WNBA that is not only exciting and fun but fosters a strong sense of empowerment in girls and women.”

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Yao Ming – The Shanghai Sharks (CBA)

While it’s not unusual for former athletes to invest in teams from their chosen sport, it certainly is rare to hear that they’ve fully bought their own team! And this is just the case with former NBA player Yao Ming. The Chinese-born center not only purchased his former team, but he saved them from dire financial strains.

Yao MingYao Ming
AFP/ Stringer via Getty Images

What’s even more impressive is that he did all this while still playing professionally! Ming bought his former team, the Shanghai Sharks, in 2009 while still playing for the Houston Rockets. He bought his old team as they were on the verge of being removed from the Chinese Basketball Association due to financial trouble.

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Bill Maher – New York Mets (MLB)

Another TV show host with a secret passion for sports, HBO's Real Time host Bill Maher has kept his pro sporting investments quiet, despite becoming a very high-profile celebrity over the last decade. We don’t blame him, as some might say the team he chose to invest in has an even higher profile than he does!

Bill Maher- New York MetsBill Maher- New York Mets
Gotham via Getty Images

In 2012, it was confirmed that Maher had purchased a minority ownership stake in the New York Mets. "I think it's a great investment," Maher told ESPN at the time. "I think it's a great team that I've been rooting for since they came into existence, which was soon after I came into existence."

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Burt Reynolds – Tampa Bay Bandits (USFL)

When you’re already a television and film icon, it’s probably natural to look for other areas you can achieve in. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when actor Burt Reynolds decided to dive into the world of professional sports. The Boogie Nights star was a big Nascar and football fan and decided to invest in both.

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For years he owned a NASCAR team, Mach 1 Racing, with friend and stuntman Hal Needham. He also had minority ownership in the Tampa Bay Bandits of the defunct USFL, between 1982 and 1986. The team name was even inspired by one of Reynold’s most famous films: Smokey and the Bandit.

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Justin Timberlake – Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)

Pop maestro Justin Timberlake may have been living in the limelight since his early days as a member of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but he started life as an unknown child growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. Though the city’s world-famous music scene no doubt influenced Timberlake, it influenced him in other ways too.

Justin Timberlake- Memphis GrizzliesJustin Timberlake- Memphis Grizzlies
KMazur via Getty Images

The “Senorita” singer is an avid fan of the city’s sporting legacy, as he and his wife, actress Jessica Biel, became minority owners of the NBA team the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2012. Not only that, but he’s also reportedly invested heavily in bringing Major League baseball to Tennessee.

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Nick Lachey – Tacoma Rainers (MLB Minor Leagues)

Multi-platinum artist and reality star Nick Lachey may have gained much of his fame through his high-profile marriage to Jessica Simpson, but this former heartthrob is no doubt living a successful life on his own terms. And that includes branching out into professional sports.

Nick Lachey- Seattle Mariners’ Triple A Affiliate and the Tacoma RainersNick Lachey- Seattle Mariners’ Triple A Affiliate and the Tacoma Rainers
Steve Grayson via Getty Images

Lachey is a self-described “die-hard” fan of NASCAR, baseball, and basketball. In 2006, the Tacoma Rainers (the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners) announced that Lachey had taken over as a part-owner of the sports club. Is there anything he doesn't do?

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Tom Clancy – Baltimore Orioles (MLB)

If you thought the world of comedians and DJs were far removed from pro sports, just take a look at Tom Clancy’s career! Clancy was a hugely successful American novelist, specializing in spy fiction and science fiction. Despite his seemingly unrelated career, he had a personal fascination with sports.

Tom Clancy- Baltimore Orioles, MLBTom Clancy- Baltimore Orioles, MLB
CRAIG LASSIG via Getty Images

This novelist achieved what only a few others have: owning his hometown's sports team. In 1993, he became a part-owner of the Major League Baseball team the Baltimore Orioles. Not only that, but he even served as the vice-chairman of the team's public affairs and community committee.

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Venus and Serena Williams – Miami Dolphins (NFL)

When it comes to celebrity athletes owning sports teams, it seems natural to think that they would invest in their own sports, right? Surely the Michael Jordans of this world would want to support future basketball all-stars. But this is not always true, and these tennis players are here to prove it.

Venus and Serena Williams- Miami DolphinsVenus and Serena Williams- Miami Dolphins
Icon Sports Wire via Getty Images

That’s right, Venus and Serena Williams have ownerships in sports teams, but not where you might expect. The stunning sisters hold minority ownership in the Miami Dolphins, a team whose stadium is near their homes. There's no doubt about it, these two are a powerful duo.

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John Candy – Toronto Argonauts (CFL)

Though he may have been mistaken for an American at one point, John Candy was a proud Canadian. The comedy giant was raised in Ontario and he kept his country close to his heart even while pursuing a career in the States. He continued his love for Canadian sports as well.

John Candy- Toronto ArgonautsJohn Candy- Toronto Argonauts
Bernard Weil via Getty Images

He proved this in 1991 when he bought shares in the Canadian Football League team the Toronto Argonauts alongside Canadian ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and business executive Bruce McNall. The celebrity ownership of the team brought a great deal of public attention to the team and the CFL as a whole.

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Tim McGraw – Nashville Kats (AFL)

Considering his success as a country singer and musician, you might assume that Tim McGraw has a deep appreciation for some of the great American pastimes. And you would be right, especially when it comes to sports. His father, Tug, was a well-known pitcher for the minor league baseball team the Jacksonville Suns.

Tim McGraw- Nashville Kats, AFLTim McGraw- Nashville Kats, AFL
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

And despite being a musician by career, he has paid tribute to this family legacy by playing both college baseball and investing in another kind of sport. In 2005, he became a minority owner of the AFL team the Nashville Kats, though the team sadly disbanded in 2007.

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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith – Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)

One of the most talked-about celebrity marriages of 21st century Hollywood, Will and Jada are a powerhouse in the American entertainment industry, even bringing their children into the field. It seems only sensible that they would include sports in their wide range of achievements too.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith- Philadelphia 76ersWill Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith- Philadelphia 76ers
Drew Hallowell via Getty Images

In 2011, the power couple obtained minority ownership in the NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers, a tribute to Will’s Philly roots. As of 2016, they have moved to majority shareholders, with Smith saying, “For me, this is absolutely ridiculous, to be here with [the] coach, to be an owner of my hometown team.”

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Ted Turner – Atlanta Braves (MLB)

While Ted Turner may not be the most recognizable name on this list, you’ll certainly recognize the name of his company. Turner is the founder of CNN, America’s first 24-hour cable news channel, and one of the most-watched channels in the country. But he is also known for being the majority owner of the Atlanta Braves.

AFP / Stringer via Getty Images

Turner bought the Atlanta Braves in 1976. But unlike many entries on this list, it was not due to a passion for sports that he did so. Instead, it was to acquire the rights to broadcast their games on his network. Though he was a very involved owner, he chose to sell the team in 1996.

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JAY-Z – Brooklyn Nets (NBA)

He is not only one of the most famous rappers of all time and married to one of the most famous women in the world, but JAY-Z has a business background that even wildly successful people would kill for. He was a brand director for Budweiser, owns a chain of sports bars, and is invested in clothing, real estate, and music labels.

James Devaney via Getty Images

As if this wasn’t enough, he also spent ten years as a part-owner of NBA team the Brooklyn Nets, formerly known as the New Jersey Nets. It is said he also considered buying a stake in Arsenal FC of the Premier League during these years. However, he sold his Nets shares to singer Will Pan in 2013, though he still supports the team.

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Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons – Los Angeles Kiss (AFL)

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are best known for rocking through the 1970s in tight leather and cartoonish make-up as founding members of the Rock 'N' Roll band Kiss. But no doubt it gets harder and harder to dress up in wild clothing and rock out to packed stadiums as you get older.

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons- Los Angeles KISSPaul Stanley and Gene Simmons- Los Angeles KISS
David Livingston via Getty Images

So it makes sense that these two older rockers have branched out in their business endeavors, however short-winded it might have been. In 2013, the two bandmates, along with band manager Don McGhee, became part owners of the AFL team Los Angeles Kiss. Sadly, it was short-lived, as the team folded just 3 years later.

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Fergie – Miami Dolphins (NFL)

This “Glamorous” singer and songwriter has shied away from the limelight for the past few years, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t still working hard behind the scenes. It seems the former Black Eyed Peas singer has an eye for business, both promoting her own line of perfumes as well as buying sports shares.

Fergie- Miami DolphinsFergie- Miami Dolphins
Larry Marano via Getty Images

Since 2009, Fergie has had part ownership in the NFL team the Miami Dolphins, a team that we can see boasts the most impressive celebrity ownership on this list. Though fellow owners like J-Lo have since relinquished their shares, as of 2020, Fergie still has stakes in the team.

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Usher – Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)

This acclaimed singer and producer no doubt has a long list of “Confessions” to make to his fans, with one of them being that he has been invested in professional sports for years! He told Forbes magazine, “I know I have the talent to entertain, now I just want to be a great businessman.”

Usher- Cleveland CavaliersUsher- Cleveland Cavaliers
TIMOTHY A. CLARY via Getty Images

Usher has had shares in the NBA team the Cleveland Cavaliers since 2005 when the sports ownership group he was part of purchased the team for a stunning sum of $375 million. He is reportedly the third pop artist of all-time to own significant shares in an NBA team.

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Bob Hope – Cleveland Indians (MLB)

The last comedian on our list, and possibly the most influential and iconic, Bob Hope was a household name in the United States for decades and is still considered one of the funniest people to grace our screens. Despite an incredibly busy career, he still made time for one of his greatest loves: sports.

Bob Hope- Cleveland IndiansBob Hope- Cleveland Indians
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Bob Hope was an avid sports car racer, boxer, and golfer, but he also had a penchant for baseball, the great American pastime. In 1947, he bought a share in the baseball team the Cleveland Indians and held on to his investment until he passed away in 2003, by far the longest celebrity sports ownership on this list.

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Mark Cuban – Dallas Mavericks (NBA)

Mark Cuban may be best known to American households as one of the Shark Tank judges, but he is also one of the shrewdest and most financially successful men in the world, with a net worth of almost $4.3 billion. So there should be no doubt that the man knows how to invest.

Mark Cuban- Dallas MavericksMark Cuban- Dallas Mavericks
Hector Vivas via Getty Images

He seemed to take a leap of faith, however, when he became the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, one of the least successful teams in the NBA. Cuban insisted that he bought the team for the love of the game, not money. It would certainly prove to be a labor of love, however, when the team won the NBA championship in 2011.

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