Top 5 Women in Sports Business Worth Over $20 Billion

Several millionaire women are heavily involved in sports business. These women have made substantial contributions to the sports sector by owning sports teams, investing in sports-related ventures, and leading firms with sports ties. According to Forbes Billionaire List 2024, here are five remarkable billionaire women who are leading investments in sports.

1. Gayle Benson – $6.1 billion.

Gayle Marie LaJaunie Bird Benson is a well-known figure in the sports business area, since she is the wealthiest woman in the field, with a net worth of more than $6.1 billion. At 77 years old, Benson’s entrepreneurial prowess is evident in her ownership of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL) and the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Her path to major ownership of both teams began in 2018 with the death of her husband, Tom Benson, when she took over the helm of these prestigious franchises.

In addition to her stewardship of the Saints and Pelicans, Benson manages a varied portfolio of at least eleven additional enterprises that her late husband previously ran. Despite her heavy workload, she devotes a large portion of her time to actively supervising the teams. Benson’s dedication is clear as she attends every Pelicans home game and travels widely to ensure her presence at every Saints game around the country.

Benson was raised in Algiers, New Orleans, and her childhood paved the way for her eventual success. She received her schooling at prestigious schools such as St. Joseph, St. Anthony, and Holy Name of Mary before graduating from Martin Behrman High School in 1966. Gayle Marie LaJaunie Bird Benson’s innovative leadership and unrelenting dedication have cemented her status as a trailblazer in the world of sports business, leaving an enduring influence on the industry.


2. Denise DeBartolo York – $5.8 billion.

Denise DeBartolo York, an American wealthy businesswoman, has a strong presence in the sports world. She and her family own a stunning 90% of the San Francisco 49ers American football team, and through 49ers Enterprises, they also own Leeds United, one of the NFL’s ten most valued teams. York is descended from construction mogul Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. and Marie Patricia Montani DeBartolo, and his family has strong ties to business and athletics.

York’s father, Edward DeBartolo Sr., bought the San Francisco 49ers for a mere $13 million in 1977. According to Forbes, York’s net worth is a whopping $5.8 billion, making the 49ers the sixth most valuable franchise in the NFL. Marie Denise DeBartolo York took over the 49ers in 2000 from her brother, Edward Jr., who had overseen the team for 23 years and was facing legal troubles. Her husband, John, joins her on this voyage; they have four children, the eldest of whom, Jed, is the 49ers’ CEO.

Denise’s tenure of the 49ers began during a difficult financial time for the franchise. However, with her keen financial acumen and competent management skills, she led the organization through troubled waters, resulting in its revival and sustained success in the world of professional sports.


3. Janice McNair – $5.6 billion.

Janice Suber McNair, the Houston Texans’ co-founder and current owner, took over the team after her husband, Bob McNair, died in 2018. Following Bob’s death, Janice inherited his 80% ownership in the NFL’s Houston Texans, making her the franchise’s major owner.

Her son, Cal, acts as CEO and oversees the team’s day-to-day operations. The couple’s journey began when they met at Columbia College in South Carolina in the late 1950s and eventually moved to Houston. Bob McNair amassed his money by selling his power generator company, Cogen Technologies, to Enron for $1.5 billion in 1999. Using the earnings from this sale, he committed $600 million to acquire Houston’s 32nd NFL team that year. Since then, the Houston Texans’ valuation has skyrocketed, reaching an astonishing $5.6 billion according to the Forbes Billionaires list for 2024.


4. Amy Adams Strunk – $1.6 billion.

Amy Adams Strunk, the controlling owner of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans, has a net worth of more than $1.6 billion. She took charge in March 2015, following a family upheaval. Amy received a part of the Titans from her father, Bud Adams, the team’s founder, after his death in 2013.

Prior to her leadership job with the Titans, the 68-year-old oversaw the family’s car dealerships, oil holdings, and horse breeding operations. Notably, in October 2022, Adams Strunk reached an agreement with the city of Nashville to build a new, cutting-edge stadium for the Titans for $2.1 billion. Prior to Amy’s appointment as controlling owner, her sister, Susie Adams Smith, held the role while her husband, Tommy Smith, served as the team’s president and CEO.


5. Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal – $1.3 billion.

Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal is a general partner of the New York Yankees, baseball’s most valuable team, with an estimated $7.1 billion. Her father, George Steinbrenner, led a group of investors who bought the franchise from CBS in 1973 for $10 million.

The Steinbrenner family’s power extends beyond the Yankees, as they own more than 25% of the YES Network, 20% of MLS’s New York City FC, shares in Legends Hospitality, and a 10% stake in Italian soccer club AC Milan. Following George’s death in 2010, Jennifer and her three siblings received an estimated one-fourth of his wealth each.

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