Each year, the Sports Business Journal publishes a ranked list of the most influential business sports leaders in professional leagues. The 2021 list featured several well-known names, including Michael Jordan, Jerry Jones, and John Henry. Jordan, a former record-setting player in the National Basketball Association (NBA), now owns NASCAR racing and the Charlotte Hornets NBA team. Jones owns the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL and Henry is the principal owner of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Boston Red Sox.
Robert Kraft Receives Top Honors as a Sports Business Professional
Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, received top honors from Sports Business Journal for the prominent role he played in securing a large portion of a new media rights deal with the NFL. Kraft closed on a $110 billion dollar deal in the spring of 2021.
When granting Kraft the award, a spokesperson for the sports publication described how he has always worked diligently to sell a stake in NFL media. The spokesperson also talked about Kraft’s work being critical to the success of Michael Rubin, founder of the Fanatics, and several business and celebrity VIPs.
Recent Announcements by the Kraft Group
Not only has Robert Kraft owned the New England Patriots for 28 years, but he is also the founder and current CEO of the Kraft Group. The Kraft Group operates businesses in multiple industries, including the following:
- Construction and real estate development
- Paper and packaging manufacturing
- Sports, entertainment, and event management
- Venture investing and private equity
In early December 2021, the Kraft Group announced a renovation plan for Gillette Stadium where the New England Patriots play their home games. The anticipated cost of the renovation is $225 million dollars.
The Kraft Group has expressed its desire for the 2026 World Cup to take place at Gillette Stadium and is still waiting to hear if the Federation International de Football Association has granted its request. The company also intends to finance a new stadium for the New England Revolution, a professional soccer team based out of Boston also owned by the Kraft Group.
About Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft has owned the New England Patriots since January 21, 1994. His other sports holdings include the New England Revolution, the Boston Uprising, and Gillette Stadium. The Boston Uprising is one of 20 teams in an overwatch league hoping to achieve professional status for the esports industry. Kraft was a New England Patriots season ticket holder for 23 years before becoming the team’s owner.
Kraft’s goal upon assuming ownership was to bring a championship team to the Boston area, and he stated as much when he bought the team. Considering that the Patriots had only a .238 winning percentage in the five seasons before Kraft’s arrival, his pronouncement seemed lofty to many.
The Patriots appeared in their first Super Bowl under Kraft’s leadership just two years later, in 1996. Although they did not win that year, the team would go on to win Super Bowl titles in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, and 2018. The New England Patriots have played in 10 Super Bowl games since Robert Kraft’s arrival in 1994. The team had appeared in just one Super Bowl throughout the team’s history before Kraft became team owner, having lost to the San Francisco 49ers in 1985.