Former players who now own sports teams

By Ben Hamill - October 27 2018

Having enjoyed a career in professional sport, many ex-players simply move into a different kind of job. Nevertheless, many opt to continue inside their sport by taking on the role of coach or manager. And for the lucky few able to afford the substantial investment involved, there is always the prospect of launching, or buying into, a sports team within and sometimes beyond their own sporting experience.

Owning a soccer team

Following his own stellar football career with teams such as Manchester United and Real Madrid, former England football captain David Beckham’s thoughts soon began to turn to owning his own team. And having played Major League Soccer with LA Galaxy in the years preceding his full retirement from the game, it is perhaps no surprise to find Beckham is now the owner of a Miami MLS soccer team which is known as Club Internacional de Futbol Miami. Another former Real Madrid ‘galactico’, Ronaldo, a two-time Soccer World Cup winner with Brazil, has also embarked upon the next chapter of his career with the purchase of Spanish La Liga side Real Valladolid. Ronaldo, who has recently secured a 51% stake in the club and is also expected to be named club president, has announced: "I've gone through many stages in my football career to prepare for this. Football is all about passion. We want to build the best team possible to compete while also giving information about our management with transparency. I want this new management to be defined in four words: competitiveness, transparency, revolution and social."

A tennis star in the world of gridiron football

In company with her equally famous tennis-playing sister (Venus), Serena Williams became a minority owner of National Football League team Miami Dolphins in 2009. As a South Florida girl herself, Serena is naturally keen to support her local NFL team. But as she explains, the thrill of watching a sport is very different from taking part: "… when we play tennis, you're so focused, you don't really get to feel that atmosphere, [but] when we go to a Dolphins game, we get to soak in the atmosphere and we realize, 'Oh my God, we do this, too.'"

New lease of life for the Shanghai Sharks and ‘Shaqramento’ Kings

Retired basketball players can also find it hard to quit the sport entirely. And can you imagine how it would feel after years of playing roulette, to end up being a casino owner? After his short but brilliant NBA playing career, Yao Ming made the decision to buy Shanghai Sharks, a Chinese Basketball Association team based in Shanghai. This is the very team Yao Ming first played for prior to becoming an NBA superstar. Not only is he the sole owner of The Sharks, Yao Ming also plays an active role within the club. Following his 19-year playing career, Shaquille (Shaq) O'Neal retired from playing having earned a reputation as one of the greatest players in the history of the National Basketball Association. Initially trying many different fields before becoming a TV sports analyst, O’Neal bought his own stake in California’s Sacramento Kings in 2013. This heralded a new chapter in the club’s history with fans immediately dubbing the team the "Shaqramento" Kings.