Philadelphia sports owners among billionaires who raked in $98.5 billion in profits during pandemic

Jeffrey Lurie
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

While millions of Americans nationwide experienced or continue to deal with financial hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the rich are only getting richer.

In a study by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), the 64 billionaire sports teams owners in the United States saw a $98.5 billion rise in their collective net worth, an increase of 30% from March 18, 2020 — roughly the beginning of the lockdown stemming from the start of the pandemic — to Jan. 29.

Their combined wealth is now up to a dizzying $426 billion from $325 billion last year, a $101 billion growth that was adjusted to $98.5 billion because two billionaires only reached that status in January 2021.

Three of Philadelphia’s four major pro sports teams and their owners are featured in this report.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie saw his net worth increase by $32 million while Phillies owner John Middleton — who saw his ballclub lose $145 million due to the pandemic — still managed to come away with $97 million over the last 10 months.

Joshua Harris, who owns the 76ers along with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, was the biggest winner of the Philly trio, raking in $886 million.

League Team Owner Net Worth, 3/18/20 ($ Millions) Net Worth, 1/29/21 ($ Millions) Wealth Growth ($ Millions) % Wealth Growth
NFL Atlanta Falcons Arthur Blank $4,600 $6,207 $1,607 34.9%
NFL Baltimore Ravens Stephen Bisciotti $4,200 $4,634 $434 10.3%
NFL/NHL Buffalo Bills/Buffalo Sabres Terrence Pegula $5,000 $5,096 $96 1.9%
NFL Carolina Panthers David Tepper $12,000 $12,986 $986 8.2%
NFL Cleveland Browns Jimmy Haslam $2,700 $2,866 $166 6.1%
NFL Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones $8,000 $8,433 $433 5.4%
NFL Houston Texans Janice McNair $4,000 $3,945 ($55) -1.4%
NFL Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay $3,000 $2,950 ($50) -1.7%
NFL Jacksonville Jaguars Shahid Khan $7,800 $7,863 $63 0.8%
NFL Kansas City Chiefs Hunt Family $5,800 $6,283 $483 8.3%
NFL/NBA/NHL LA Rams/Denver Nuggets/Colorado Avalanche Ann Walton Kroenke $7,900 $9,003 $1,103 14.0%
NFL/NBA/NHL LA Rams/Denver Nuggets/Colorado Avalanche Stanley Kroenke $10,000 $8,284 ($1,716) -17.2%
NFL Miami Dolphins Stephen M. Ross $7,600 $7,178 ($422) -5.6%
NFL New England Patriots Robert Kraft $6,900 $6,646 ($254) -3.7%
NFL/NBA New Orleans Saints/New Orleans Pelicans Gayle Benson $3,200 $3,265 $65 2.0%
NFL New York Giants Steve Tisch $1,000 $1,066 $66 6.6%
NFL New York Jets Robert Wood Johnson, IV $2,400 $2,500 $100 4.2%
NFL Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie $2,700 $2,732 $32 1.2%
NFL San Francisco 49ers Denise York $3,200 $3,244 $44 1.4%
NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers Glazer Family N/A $1,685 N/A N/A
NFL Washington Football Team Dan Synder $2,600 $2,553 ($47) -1.8%
MLB Atlanta Braves John Malone $5,800 $7,289 $1,489 25.7%
MLB Boston Red Sox John Henry $2,600 $2,836 $236 9.1%
MLB Chicago Cubs J. Joe Ricketts $1,900 $3,129 $1,229 64.7%
MLB/NBA Chicago White Sox/Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf $1,500 $1,538 $38 2.6%
MLB/NHL Detroit Tigers/Detroit Red Wings Marian Ilitch $3,800 $4,055 $255 6.7%
MLB Houston Astros Jim Crane $1,300 $1,346 $46 3.5%
MLB Los Angeles Angels Arte Moreno $3,300 $3,396 $96 2.9%
MLB Los Angeles Dodgers Mark Walter $2,700 $4,295 $1,595 59.1%
MLB New York Mets Steve Cohen $13,900 $14,581 $681 4.9%
MLB Oakland Athletics John J. Fisher $2,100 $2,813 $713 33.9%
MLB Philadelphia Phillies John Middleton $3,300 $3,397 $97 2.9%
MLB San Francisco Giants Charles B. Johnson $4,200 $5,015 $815 19.4%
MLB Texas Rangers Ray Davis $1,700 $1,881 $181 10.7%
NBA Atlanta Hawks Antony Ressler $2,700 $3,948 $1,248 46.2%
NBA Brooklyn Nets Joseph Tsai $10,000 $12,200 $2,200 22.0%
NBA Charlotte Hornets Michael Jordan $2,100 $1,615 ($485) -23.1%
NBA Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert $6,500 $44,771 $38,271 588.8%
NBA Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban $4,300 $4,243 ($57) -1.3%
NBA Detroit Pistons Tom Gores $5,700 $5,728 $28 0.5%
NBA Golden State Warriors Joe Lacob $1,200 $1,190 ($11) -0.9%
NBA Houston Rockets Tilman Fertitta $4,300 $4,164 ($136) -3.2%
NBA Indiana Pacers Herb Simon $2,500 $2,974 $474 19.0%
NBA Los Angeles Clippers Steve Ballmer $52,700 $79,838 $27,138 51.5%
NBA/NHL LA Lakers/LA Kings Philip Anschutz $11,000 $10,129 ($871) -7.9%
NBA/NHL LA Lakers/LA Kings Edward Roski Jr. $3,100 $5,480 $2,380 76.8%
NBA Los Angeles Lakers Patrick Soon-Shiong $6,400 $7,013 $613 9.6%
NBA Memphis Grizzlies Robert Pera $7,000 $17,106 $10,106 144.4%
NBA Miami Heat Micky Arison $5,100 $6,030 $930 18.2%
NBA Milwaukee Bucks Wes Edens $1,000 $1,036 $36 3.6%
NBA Milwaukee Bucks Marc Lasry $1,800 $1,776 ($24) -1.3%
NBA Milwaukee Bucks James Dinan $2,200 $1,991 ($209) -9.5%
NBA Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor $2,900 $2,469 ($431) -14.9%
NBA Oklahoma City Thunder George Kaiser $5,600 $5,315 ($285) -5.1%
NBA/NHL Philadelphia 76ers/New Jersey Devils Joshua Harris $4,000 $4,886 $886 22.1%
NBA Utah Jazz Ryan Smith $1,300 $1,300 $0 0.0%
NBA/NHL Washington Wizards/Washington Capitals Theodore Leonsis $1,400 $1,385 ($15) -1.1%
NHL Anaheim Ducks Henry Samueli $3,500 $6,023 $2,523 72.1%
NHL Boston Bruins Jeremy Jacobs Sr. $3,200 $2,618 ($582) -18.2%
NHL Dallas Stars Bob Gagliardi $2,500 $2,800 $300 12.0%
NHL Edmonton Oilers Daryl Katz $3,200 $3,600 $400 12.5%
NHL Florida Panthers Vincent Viola $2,000 $2,704 $704 35.2%
NHL Pittsburgh Penguins Ron Burkle $1,400 $1,420 $20 1.5%
NHL San Jose Sharks Hasso Plattner $12,400 $15,200 $2,800 22.6%

“These billionaire sports barons have seen their wealth rise as their fans lose their lives, livelihoods, health, and wealth,” Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, Program on Inequality, said. “As a country, we should be investigating pandemic profiteering and taxing windfall gains during these extraordinary times.”

Such profits in these trying times make the taxpayer handouts received by these billionaires that much more troublesome. According to data maintained by sports stadium news and analysis site, Field of Schemes, 26 of these team-owning billionaires have received $9 billion in taxpayer subsidies to help build or update venues and “make other investments billionaires could presumably afford on their own.”

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