Clippers' Steve Ballmer Tops Forbes' List of Richest Sports Owners at $91.4 Billion

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 5, 2022

Los Angeles Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony of the Intuit Dome, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. The Clippers' long-awaited, $1.8 billion, the privately funded arena is officially named Intuit Dome. The practice facility, team offices for both business and basketball operations, retail space, and more will all be on the site when it opens in 2024. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

The Los Angeles Clippers are eighth in the NBA's Western Conference standings, but team governor Steve Ballmer sits atop the rankings of the richest owners in sports.

Justin Birnbaum of Forbes provided a list of the publication's richest sports team owners for 2022, and Ballmer is No. 1 with a net worth of $91.4 billion. Not only is he in the pole position, but his net worth has also increased by 33 percent over the last year in large part because of improvements in Microsoft's stock.

The former Microsoft CEO purchased the Clippers for $2 billion eight years ago, and Forbes now values the franchise at $3.3 billion.

Ballmer is joined by Mukesh Ambani, Francois Pinault, Dietrich Mateschitz and Dan Gilbert in the top five. 

Ambani owns the Mumbai Indians of the Indian Premier League, Pinault owns Stade Rennais FC of Ligue 1 and Gilbert owns the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Mateschitz owns the MLS' New York Red Bulls, RB Leipzig of the German Bundesliga and Red Bull Racing of Formula 1, with the latter described as his "crown jewel" by Birnbaum.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen captured last year's Formula 1 drivers' championship, which ended Mercedes' streak of seven consecutive titles (six with Lewis Hamilton and one with Nico Rosberg). The sport has also skyrocketed in popularity thanks largely to the Netflix show Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

As for Ballmer, he is a regular presence courtside at Clippers games and is looking to bring the franchise its first championship.

They made ambitious additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George prior to the 2019-20 campaign, but injuries have hampered the franchise's ability to reach the NBA Finals. Los Angeles lost to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals last season.

The Clippers sit eighth in the standings this season, although the potential return of Leonard to a lineup that again features George would make the team dangerous heading into the postseason. Leonard has not been ruled out for the playoffs and was seen shooting during Tuesday's practice.