Billionaires are buying sports teams for different reasons than they used to

  • A new report by UBS and PwC found the total wealth of the world's billionaires grew by 17% in 2016 to $6 trillion. 
  • Billionaires, according to the report, are "turning their attention to sports."
  • John Matthews, coauthor of the report, told Business Insider that owning a sports team is not just an ego play for billionaires.

Billionaire wealth grew by 17 percent to $6 trillion, according to a report released Thursday by $3 trillion money manager UBS and consultancy PwC.

And a chunk of that money is going into sports. 

Billionaires, according to the wide-ranging report, are looking to leave their mark on history and are ramping up their philanthropy efforts and patronage of the arts and sport. 

RELATED: NFL owners who became billionaires

19 PHOTOS
NFL owners who became billionaires
See Gallery
NFL owners who became billionaires

Dan Snyder: Washington Redskins

$1.1 billion(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Denise DeBartolo York: San Francisco 49ers

$1.1 billion

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)

Jeffrey Lurie: Philadelphia Eagles

$1.1 billion

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Alex Spanos: San Diego Chargers

$1.1 billion

(Photo by Getty Images)

William Clay Ford Sr.: Detroit Lions

$1.1 billion

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bud Adams: Tennessee Titans

$1.2 billion

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Tom Benson: New Orleans Saints

$1.2 billion

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Arthur Blank: Atlanta Falcons

$1.5 billion

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Jim Irsay: Indianapolis Colts

$1.5 billion

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Steve Bisciotti: Baltimore Ravens

$1.6 billion

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Robert McNair: Houston Texans

$1.8 billion

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Robert Kraft: New England Patriots

$2.3 billion

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Shahid Khan: Jacksonville Jaguars

$2.5 billion

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Jerry Jones: Dallas Cowboys

$2.7 billion

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Malcolm Glazer: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

$3.6 billion

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)

Stan Kroenke: Los Angeles Rams

$4 billion

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Stephen Ross: Miami Dolphins

$4.4 billion

(Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Paul Allen: Seattle Seahawks

$15 billion

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Billionaires are turning their attention to sports," the report said. "As the price tags on sports clubs appreciate, often it’s only billionaires who have the financial firepower to buy them and make the necessary follow-on investments."

In Asia, for instance, the uber-wealthy are driving the growth of soccer with billionaires like Alibaba's Jack Ma funding new training schools. 

Wealthy people, of course, have always been patrons of sports teams and clubs, but the reason why they are backing sports has changed, according to John Matthews, one of the reports co-authors. He told Business Insider that owning a sports franchise used to be an ego play, and he often advised his billionaire clients against buying teams. 

"I would tell my clients the fastest way to become a millionaire is to become a billionaire and then buy a sports team," he said. 

RELATED: Mark Cuban through the years

31 PHOTOS
Mark Cuban through the years
See Gallery
Mark Cuban through the years
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban prior to the game against the Houston Rockets on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban prior to the game against the Houston Rockets on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban prior to the game against the Houston Rockets on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban greets Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets prior to the game on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
DALLAS - 2001: (L-R) Dirk Nowitzki #41, Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban and Michael Finley #4 of the Dallas Mavericks pose for a portrait circa 2001 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2001 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, UNITED STATES: Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban celebrates a Mavericks' three-point play to end the first half of play versus the Boston Celtics at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas, 22 February 2001. AFP PHOTO/Paul BUCK (Photo credit should read PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 17: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on January 17, 2001 at Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 2039 -- Pictured: (l-r) American businessman Mark Cuban during an interview with host Jay Leno on April 17, 2001 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DALLAS, UNITED STATES: Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban applauds during game action versus the Utah Jazz at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas 28 April 2001. The Mavericks beat the Jazz 94-91 to force game four in their Western Conference first round playoff series. AFP PHOTO/Paul BUCK (Photo credit should read PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, UNITED STATES: Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban (R) high-fives fans after the Mavericks beat the San Antonio Spurs at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas, 12 May 2001. The Mavericks avoided the sweep with a 112-108 victory in the best of seven Western Conference semifinal playoffs. AFP PHOTO/Paul BUCK (Photo credit should read PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)
4 Apr 2002: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban cheers for his team during the NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Mavs won, 115-90. \ NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. \ Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE \ Mandatory Credit: Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images
SACRAMENTO - MAY 6: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks shakes hands with NBC broadcaster Bill Walton before the Western Conference Semi-final game against the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California on May 6, 2002. The Mavericks won 110-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE (Photo by: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)
DALLAS - NOVEMBER 6: Team owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks looks on while Dallas faces the Memphis Grizzlies November 6, 2004 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Madatory Copyright: Copyright 2004 NBAE (Photo By Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 28: Warner Indepentents' Mark Gill (L), actress Keira Knightley and exec. producer Mark Cuban pose at the after-party for the premiere of Warner Independent Pictures' 'The Jacket' at Falcon on February 28, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
DALLAS - DECEMBER 30: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks watches the game against the Golden State Warriors at American Airlines Arena on December 30, 2005 in Dallas, Texas. The Warriors won 111-109. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2005 NBAE (Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS - MAY 15: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks speaks with Chris Bosh before the game against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2006 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 15, 2006 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 123-118. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo By Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stands behind the Dallas bench in the opening minutes against the New York Knicks during their NBA game February 24, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Mavericks won, 110-108. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 17: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 17, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 110-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, speaks with members of the media as he exits federal court in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Cuban said he doesn't recall details of a conversation in which he was allegedly warned that information he received about a company was confidential. Photographer: Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, exits federal court in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Cuban goes to trial over regulators' claims he engaged in insider trading when he sold his stake in a Canadian Internet search company nine years ago. Photographer: Ben Torres/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: TV personality Mark Cuban attends the 2013 American Music Awards Powered by Dodge at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/AMA2013/Getty Images for Dodge)
The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) is hugged Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after the Mavs' 90-82 win at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA,PA - NOVEMBER 16: Owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on November 16, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 16, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 29: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, follows the action from behind the bench during the third quarter of the basketball game against Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center October 29, 2015, in Los Angeles California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, Investor, Entrepreneur and Owner, Dallas Mavericks, offers his critique to finalists at the Global Startup Showcase, as one of four judges at 2015 WSJD Live on October 20, 2015 in Laguna Beach, California. WSJ D Live brings together top CEOs, founders, pioneers, investors and luminaries to explore the most exciting tech opportunities emerging around the world. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, and his wife Tiffany Cuban arrive at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The U.S. and China announced agreement on broad anti-hacking principles aimed at stopping the theft of corporate trade secrets though President Barack Obama pointedly said he has not ruled out invoking sanctions for violators. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, and his wife Tiffany Cuban arrive at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The U.S. and China announced agreement on broad anti-hacking principles aimed at stopping the theft of corporate trade secrets though President Barack Obama pointedly said he has not ruled out invoking sanctions for violators. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SHARK TANK - Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary is a 'Shark' on ABC's 'Shark Tank.' (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)
SHARK TANK - Mark Cuban is a 'Shark' on ABC's 'Shark Tank.' (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Today the motivation behind owning a team is more pragmatic. As such, Matthews thinks it makes good sense for some billionaires to buy a team. For instance, owning a sports team can help billionaires connect with communities they might have business interests in. 

"Yet owning a sports club is more than a prestige project or business venture," the report said. "In the US and to a certain extent in Europe, this is a chance to promote your community, to establish a legacy as the person who took the community’s sports club to great success."

Owning a team can also open the door to other business opportunities. 

"One billionaire told us that you do not really buy sports clubs for financial returns," the report said. "Instead it opens the door to amazing people – you sit at the table with 'stars, sheikhs, famous businessmen and regular guys from around the world, all in the same room, all talking only about the ball.'”

The report said 109 billionaires own the top 140 sports brands. The average age of these tycoons is 68. Here's an overview of the sports teams owned by billionaires:

Screen Shot 2017 10 26 at 10.24.26 AMUBS

More from Business Insider:

Read Full Story

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.