Playing professional for any sport is amazing but owning a team is even better. Most ex pro’s in team sports such as soccer, cricket, basketball and more, usually retire and take up positions in management. Today more and more athletes are trying themselves at ownership and it looks like this trend is on an upward trajectory.
These athletes could have easily retired and lived on a secluded island and sip bottomless cocktails but instead are now trying their hand at ownership. They have translated their success into ownership roles, the following being the most prominent.
After a successful career in Europe, former England captain, David Beckham set his sights on the MLS in 2007 to finish out his career. A clause in his contract promised partial ownership of one of the upcoming franchises at a discounted fee. After his retirement in 2014, Becks exercised his option and now is bringing a team to Miami.
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Internacional de Futbol Miami or Inter Miami (a name which resonated with the Spanish-speaking community of Miami) will play in a 25,000 seat stadium in the city of Overtown however the stadium has not been built yet, the land currently is occupied by a golf course.
King James mentioned that “being a first generation money-maker in his family was a scary thing” in an interview he did, so far it looks like he is doing just fine. So much so that he has minority stake in English Premier League team Liverpool. This was part of a deal struck with Fenway Sports Group, in turn this made him one of the highest paid athletes in 2011 earning a humble $48 million.
Venus and Serena Williams
The Williams sisters bought a small stake in the Miami Dolphins making them the first African American women to have ownership a NFL team. The move was influenced by the sisters’ love of watching the team play while living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, an hour’s drive from the Dolphins stadium.
Miami seems to be a popular destination for first time club owners. Following Jeffery Loria stepping down, Derek Jeter became co-owner of the Miami Marlins in August 2017. The franchise was sold for a reported $1.7 billion to Bruce Sherman and Captain Clutch
is tasked to run the business and sports related side of operations.
Ephraim Matsilela Sono (affectionately known as Jomo Sono) purchased Highlands Park in 1982 after returning from the USA. Under his ownership the club went on to achieve various domestic successes and most importantly discovered and developed raw football talent from rural areas.
Players like Phil Masinga, Helman Mkhalele and Sizwe Motaung went on to represent the South African national team in international tournaments such as the 1996 AFCON, which they went on to win.
In 2004, Kaizer Motaung was voted 73rd
in “the top 100 Great South Africans”. Much like Jomo Sono, Kaizer started working on the formation of his football club after returning from the Atlanta Chiefs abroad. This was met with vehement resistance but Chincha Guluva
forged ahead and eventually got the club off the ground.
He named the team after himself and the team he played for overseas, Atlanta Chiefs. This is now one of the biggest clubs in the country and Africa. Kaizer Motaung also went on to co-found the PSL (Premier Soccer League) with Irvin Khoza.
Orlando Pirates is one of the biggest clubs in Africa and remain one of two clubs from the Southern Hemisphere to win the CAF Champions League. Formed in 1937, the Orlando based club was initially owned by the community until Irvin Khoza took ownership. Although Kaizer Motaung and himself established and developed the PSL, they continue to sit on opposing sides when their clubs meet in one of the fiercest rivalries in African football, the Soweto Derby.
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