Who is the richest NFL owner by net worth?
The Panthers may not be the most successful team in the NFL, but their owner is by far the most successful of his billionaire peers when it comes to total net worth.
The majority of NFL owners are billionaires with the top 15 having a net worth of at least $3 billion or above. But the richest of them all is Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, whose total net worth stands at $15.8 billion (latest Forbes valuation), which makes him the 142nd-richest person in the world.
There is a big gap between Tepper and the joint second-richest owners, Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys) and Stanley Kroenke (LA Rams). The pair have each amassed a fortune of $10.7 billion, by no means a figure to be laughed at but still $5.1 billion less than their Carolina counterpart. Behind the top three is Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who have a total net worth of $8.7 billion and $8.3 billion, respectively.
It’s worth pointing out that before his death in October 2018, Seattle Seahawks’ late former owner Paul Allen was by far the richest of his peers with a net worth of over $20 billion.
Top Five Richest NFL Owners
*Forbes latest valuations
Who is David Tepper?
Hailed by Forbes as “arguably the greatest hedge fund manager of his generation”, the 64-year-old tycoon’s Appaloosa Management hedge fund firm now manages nearly $13 billion, down from a peak of $20 billion.
Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers from original owner and founder Jerry Richardson in May 2018 for a record sale price of $2.3 billion, a move which forced him to sell his 5% share in his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Pittsburg-raised billionaire is also the owner of Major League Soccer franchise, Charlotte FC, which became the 30th MLS team in December 2019 after it was established as an expansion team in July 2019 by the Panthers organization. Tepper reportedly paid $325 million in expansion fees for the franchise, setting an MLS record. Charlotte FC and the Panthers both use the Bank of America Stadium for home games.
The rise of Tepper
With a relatively humble background, Tepper is one of three children and was raised in the Pittsburgh’s Stanton Heights neighborhood by parents Harry, an accountant, and Roberta, an elementary school teacher.
After graduating from the University of Pittsburg with a BA in economics, Tepper worked as as a credit analyst in the treasury department for Equibank, before returning to education to earn his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1982. He worked for Rebublic Steel, Keystone and Golman Sachs before eventually establishing Appaloosa Management in 1993.
Tepper has been an avid sports fan since his childhood. As a boy he “played football and memorized the baseball statistics on the backs of cards given to him by his grandfather -- early evidence of what he claims is a photographic memory”, as revealed by Jessica Pressler in her 2010 profile of Tebber (titled ‘Ready to be Rich’) for New York magazine.
Panthers’ record under Tepper
In each of the three seasons since Tepper bought the team in May 2018, the Panthers have finished with a losing record: 7-9 in 2018, 5-11 in 2019 and 5-11 again in 2020.
Matt Rhule was hired as head coach in January 2020 after Tepper fired previous head coach in Ron Rivera 2019 after eight seasons at the helm. Having overseen five games so far this season, Rhule holds a current 3-2 after Week 5, with the Panthers suffering back-to-back defeats to the Cowboys (28-36) and the Eagles (21-18), following three straight victories against the Jets (14-19), Saints (7-26) and the Texans (24-9). Next Sunday, the Panthers host the Vikings (2-3 record) at the Bank of America Stadium.