In the quest for diversification and unique investment opportunities, Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) and Family Offices are increasingly turning to sports franchises. From major league teams to emerging sports like pickleball and minor league clubs, investing in sports franchises offers both financial returns and a range of intangible benefits that make it an attractive proposition.

The Allure of Major Sports Franchises

Major sports franchises, including teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and EPL, are high-profile investments that have shown significant value appreciation over time. They offer key attractions such as substantial capital appreciation, steady revenue streams, brand equity, and global reach. The value of major sports franchises has surged in recent years, leading to profitable appreciation. For instance, the valuation of NBA and NFL teams has seen double-digit annual growth, driven by lucrative broadcast deals, sponsorships, and global fan engagement.

Additionally, these franchises benefit from multiple revenue sources, including ticket sales, merchandising, broadcasting rights, and sponsorships. This diversified income ensures a steady cash flow, even during economic downturns. Then, major sports teams are powerful brands with global recognition. Ownership offers a unique opportunity to align with a beloved cultural institution, enhancing personal and corporate brand prestige.

Exploring Bespoke Sports Investments

Emerging sports like Pickleball and Disc Golf are gaining traction—even being mentioned as future Olympic sports. These sports and a short list of others present novel investment opportunities. The Major Pickleball League has seen its value go from $100,000 in 2021 to an enterprise value north of $10,000,000 in 2024. Individual teams and equipment manufacturers have realized similar multiples for their owners, offering high returns with relatively lower initial investments.

Within these sports, there is significant growth potential. As a rapidly growing sport, pickleball offers significant upside potential. The increasing number of tournaments, rising player base, and expanding media coverage point to robust future growth. Additionally, you will see an increase in community engagement. Investing in bespoke sports allows for deep community involvement and the chance to shape the sport’s development. This hands-on aspect can be particularly appealing to investors passionate about sports. Additionally, investing in emerging sports can be relatively inexpensive, making it accessible to a wider range of investors.

The Appeal of Minor League Teams

Minor league sports teams, though often overlooked, can offer compelling investment opportunities with unique benefits. 

For one, you could play a developmental role with the league. Minor league teams play a crucial role in developing talent for major leagues. This developmental focus can translate into strong local support and steady revenue from loyal fan bases. A great example of this can be seen in the minor league team the Savannah Bananas—having sold out every game since their inaugural 2016 season, recently selling out Houston stadium, planning a 14-stop world tour, and boasting a two million-person waiting list for tickets.

Then, you will be surprised to see the affordability of minor league teams. The lower cost of acquisition and operation makes minor league teams an attractive option for investors seeking entry into sports franchise ownership without the significant financial commitment required by major league teams. Lastly, and most importantly, community engagement. Owning a minor league team allows investors to make a tangible impact on local communities, fostering local pride and economic growth through sports.

Benefits of Owning Sports Teams

Beyond financial returns, owning a sports franchise offers a variety of intangible benefits.

  1. Networking Opportunities

Ownership provides access to an exclusive network of influential individuals, including other team owners, athletes, and corporate executives. This can lead to valuable business and personal connections.

  1. Publicity and Media Exposure

Sports franchise ownership often brings significant media attention, enhancing the owner’s public profile and providing platforms for broader business ventures.

  1. Personal Enjoyment and Legacy

For many UHNWIs and Family Offices, owning a sports team is a passion project. It offers the joy of being closely involved with a sport they love and the opportunity to build a lasting legacy.

Investing in sports franchises presents a dynamic and multifaceted opportunity for UHNWIs and Family Offices. With careful selection and management, sports franchise ownership can not only enhance portfolios but also provide lasting personal and community impact. If you have further questions or wish to grow your family office, contact the team at Family Office Association.