14 sports teams owned by techies

Tech moguls own a serious piece of the U.S. professional sports landscape.

techie sports owners 1

Team players

Nerds getting picked on in school are told, “don’t worry, they’ll be working for you someday.” For these pillars of the technology world, that came true in a big way – they’re all owners or part-owners of professional sports teams. Have a look.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

Probably the best known of the techie owners, Mark Cuban has owned pro basketball’s Dallas Mavericks since 2000. Cuban made his money in software sales, a dot-com-era startup called Broadcast.com, and venture capital. The Mavs have been competitive under his ownership, a regular playoff presence and winners of the NBA championship in 2011.

Paul Allen
WikipediaMiles HarrisCC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen owns two-and-a-half professional sports teams in his native Pacific Northwest. He’s owned the Portland Trailblazers since 1988, the Seattle Seahawks since 1996 and has been part-owner of soccer’s Seattle Sounders since the team’s formation in 2009.

Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer

Another famous former Microsoftie, Ballmer has owned the Los Angeles Clippers since August 2014. He’s also been a part of an unsuccessful attempt to keep the Supersonics in Seattle, as well as an abortive attempted purchase of the Sacramento Kings, as a replacement for Seattle’s NBA franchise, which departed for Oklahoma City in 2008.

techie sports owners 5

Steve Bisciotti

Bisciotti co-founded Aerotek, a technology and engineering staffing firm, in 1983. He’s been at least a part-owner of the Baltimore Ravens since 2000, and the team has been a regular presence in the playoffs since, winning the Super Bowl in 2013.

Wyc Grousbeck
Reuters/ Brian Snyder (Reuters)

Wyc Grousbeck

Venture capital veteran Wyc Grousbeck headed the group that bought the Boston Celtics in 2002. The team would win its record-breaking 17th NBA championship six years later, its first since 1986. (It was awesome.)

Joe Lacob
NBA.com (One-Time Use)

Joe Lacob

Appropriately for a basketball team that plays in the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently outrageously successful, the Golden State Warriors are owned by a partner at Kleiner Perkins, Joe Lacob. Before buying the Warriors in 2010, Lacob was a part-owner of the Boston Celtics, and an investor in the American Basketball League, an unsuccessful competitor to the WNBA.

Robert Pera
WikipediaCourtesy of Robert J. PeraCC BY 2.5 (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

Robert Pera

The founder of Ubiquiti Networks, Robert Pera, has owned the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies since 2012. Pera’s ownership has coincided with a general upturn in the team’s fortunes, and the team hasn’t missed the playoffs since the takeover.

Michael G. Rubin

Michael G. Rubin

Rubin is the founder of Kynetic, an e-commerce company best known for consumer-focused sites like Rue La La and Fanatics. He’s also the co-owner of both the Philadelphia 76ers, since 2011, and the New Jersey Devils, since 2013.

Vivek Ranadive
Twitter (One-Time Use)

Vivek Ranadive

Financial tech pioneer Vivek Ranadive has owned the Sacramento Kings since 2013 – before that, in 2010, he was a co-owner of the Golden State Warriors. Ranadive founded Teknekron Software Systems in 1986, helping to build some of the first real-time trading networks for Wall Street.

Ted Leonsis
WikipediaDCBiz500CC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

Ted Leonsis

Leonsis began his career at Wang Laboratories in 1977, and founded a marketing company 10 years later that was subsequently acquired by AOL, in 1994, retiring in 2006. He’s now the man in charge of winter sports in Washington D.C., having owned the NHL’s Capitals since 1999, the WNBA’s Mystics since 2005, and the NBA’s Wizards since 2010. He also owns the Verizon Center, the venue at which all three teams play home games.

Peter Karmanos
REUTERS/Peter Jones (Reuters)

Peter Karmanos

The co-founder, in 1973, of software company Compuware, Karmanos became the owner of the Hartford Whalers in 1994, only to move the team to Raleigh, N.C., after three years, where they became the Carolina Hurricanes. Honestly, don’t bring him up around people from Connecticut. They’re still mad. (And definitely don’t mention that the ‘Canes won the Stanley Cup not long after the move…)

Charles Wang

Charles Wang

Wang, who became part-owner of the New York Islanders in 2000 and the full owner of the team in 2004, made his fortune in software, having founded CA Technologies in 1976. He hasn’t been popular among Islanders fans, and he’s set to turn power over to a group of minority investors, having moved the team to Brooklyn from Long Island, within two years.

Ken Kendrick
WikipediaMwinog2777CC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

Ken Kendrick

The de-facto owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks got his start at IBM and later at his own business software firm, Data Technology Corporation. Kendrick has been in charge of the Diamondbacks since 2004, and is also well-known for being the owner of one of the most valuable baseball cards in existence – the 1909 “T206” Honus Wagner.

Henry Samueli
Broadcom (One-Time Use)

Henry Samueli

Samueli is the CTO of chipmaker Broadcom, the company he co-founded in 1991 with Henry Nicholas, a former student of his from UCLA. He’s also, since 2005, been the owner of the Anaheim Ducks, and was in charge when the team won its first Stanley Cup in 2007.

Hasso Plattner
WikipediaEpic-chairCC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

Hasso Plattner

Plattner was one of the five former IBM engineers responsible for forming German business software powerhouse SAP in the early 1970s. More recently, in 2013, he took over as the majority owner of the San Jose Sharks.