Lists

25 Sports Owners Fans Loved to Hate

Darren - February 11, 2020
Lists

25 Sports Owners Fans Loved to Hate

Darren - February 11, 2020
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

20. The DeVos Family – Orlando Magic

Let’s start off with Richard DeVos. The patriarch of a clan of homophobes, he was one of the most explicitly discriminative owners in US sports history. While the owner of the Magic, he flung millions into groups that want to remove existing rights for gay people. Talk about a way to alienate your fans.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Naturally, the rest of his family have similar views. The DeVos family probably wish that more fans hated them because they just don’t get enough in their stadium. People in Florida are more interested in the Miami Heat and don’t take much interest in the Magic at all. A few advertisements would be nice.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

19. Clayton Bennett – Seattle Supersonics

One of the most despicable things you can do is promise never to move a franchise and then do exactly that. Bennett tore the Supersonics out of Seattle in 2006 and renamed them the Oklahoma City Thunders. This came about after he basically tried to blackmail the city into building a new stadium for him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Seattle wasn’t having any of it so he did his best to extort every cent from them before moving state. Bennett and Aubrey McClendon benefited from more than $120 million in corporate welfare following the move. The only silver lining is that the Supersonics name and colors still belong to Seattle.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

18. Art Modell – Cleveland Browns

LeBron James is not the most hated man in Cleveland. No, that dubious honor goes to Modell, who was responsible for stealing away the city’s franchise. First of all, he turned them into a shambles of a team. They endured 30 years of purgatory under his reign before he did the unforgivable.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Modell decided to move the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore. This caused fury in the city, with massive protests outside of the stadium during their last season. The only bright side was that he left the name and team colors behind. To rub salt into their wounds, the Ravens won two Super Bowls while the Browns still haven’t.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

17. The Ford Family – Detroit Lions

The only NFC team never to play in a Super Bowl, you have to pity anybody cursed to be a Lions fan. The Ford family has owned the Detroit franchise since 1953 but has failed to bring them anywhere near success. We’re not exactly sure what the point of them is. They just kind of exist for some reason.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

You’ve got to blame them for not investing in available free agents that could make the roster stronger. Their lack of ambition is nothing short of astounding. After finishing bottom in the NFC North again, you’ve got wonder how long they can keep going like this.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

16. Donald Trump –  New Jersey Generals

The POTUS didn’t just bring down a franchise, he made an entire league collapse. That’s one of the top achievements on this list. The USFL lasted for three seasons from 1983 to 1985 and played during the spring and summer. This was unlike the NFL, which obviously plays in fall and winter.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

This made reasonably smart business sense, right? Football is America’s most popular sport and there’s a lot of college players who go undrafted. But then Trump pushed for the USFL to compete directly with the NFL. This ended with an antitrust suit that the USFL won. However, the court only awarded them $3. Trump hasn’t owned a football team since.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

14. Roland Duchatelet – Charlton Athletic

Charlton was a decent Premier League team for a number of years before crashing down into the Championship. Belgian businessman Duchatelat is the figurehead behind their descent into madness. Over the course of his five years in charge of the club, they went into severe decline.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

It got so bad that they allegedly banned youth team players from drinking free bottled water at the training ground. The team suffered a second relegation to League One but the work of manager Lee Bowyer brought them back up. In the end, Duchatelet sold up in 2020.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

14. Mike Ashley – Newcastle United

It’s tough being a Newcastle fan. They’ve got one of the best stadiums in the Premier League and have the biggest fanbase in the northeast of England. These two factors lead them to believe that they should be title contenders. Instead, they spend their time enduring torturous relegation battles.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

Ashley is the man in charge of the club’s purse strings. The Sports Direct founder has zero ambition when it comes to winning trophies. He’s happy to sell his best players for big profits instead of consolidating and building a team that can compete with the best. No wonder fans want him gone.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

13. Jerry Jones – Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys won their last Super Bowl back in 1996. Since then it’s been years of agony for the most lucrative team in the NFL. Jones has been in charge for over 30 years and it’s fair to say that fans have long since lost patience with him. They’ve won three Super Bowls with him but those feel like distant memories now.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Jones definitely has an ego problem. Jimmy Johnson is one of the greatest coaches in NFL history but the owner got jealous of him taking all the glory. That was a terrible decision because they’ve been a basket case of a team ever since. Perhaps the nickname ‘America’s Team’ actually fits.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

12. The Glazers – Manchester United

United is a soccer club in massive decline. No other team has won as many Premier League titles, but they don’t look to be adding to their record. Since taking over in 2005, the Glazers have drained $2 billion dollars out of their purchase. This has had a very detrimental effect on the infrastructure of the club.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

Add in the fact that they don’t have a cohesive vision for their team and you can see why fans hate them. They spend massive amounts of money on very average players. In sum, the results reflect this and they seem destined to languish in mediocracy for the foreseeable future. It’s a dramatic fall from grace.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

11. Mikhail Prokhorov – Brooklyn Nets

Apart from their move to the Barclay Center, the Brooklyn Nets didn’t have a good time under Prokhorov. As the first non-American franchise owner in NBA history, he came into the league with a level of mystique around him. That turned to disbelief when it became clear that he was totally hapless.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He tried to run against Vladimir Putin for the Russian presidency. In sum, that should tell you all you need to know about his decision making. He traded the likes of Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries for over-the-hill stars like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. They won one playoff series during his decade in charge – definitely not successful.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. Donald Sterling – Los Angeles Clippers

Sterling was a massive racist. Do we have to continue? Not only that, but he was also totally inept as the team’s owner. First of all, he alienated fans by moving the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles. That might have been okay if the results had followed. In short, they definitely didn’t.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In his first 25-plus seasons as a team owner, they made four playoff appearances and won just a single playoff series. That’s a grim record. Then there was that lawsuit led by former Clippers executive Elgin Baylor. Finally, the NFL forced him out and he sold the Clippers for $2 billion in 2014.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

9. James Dolan – New York Knicks

The only good thing you can say about Dolan’s reign in charge of the Knicks is that he’s accountable. But that doesn’t make it much easier for fans who have seen their team run into the ground during his tenure as owner. They’ve been worse than bad.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

At least the worst teams get the best draft picks. But Dolan’s Knicks have floated along with 13 coaches in 18 years. You have to go back all the way to 1973 for the last time they won a championship. This is despite being the most valuable franchise in the NBA today. There is just no excuse.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Hank and Hal Steinbrenner – New York Yankees

Things might be starting to come together for the Yankees finally, but it’s been a long slog of a decade. After George Steinbrenner passed away, his bumbling sons Hank and Hal took over the ownership. They’ve presided over one of the worst decades in the history of the franchise.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

They’ve spent most of the time throwing money at problems without any real idea how to fix them. Obviously, this isn’t a recipe for success. They’ve lost the American League Championship four times in the past decade. The Steinbrenners just haven’t had a strong plan.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Jeffrey Loria – Miami Marlins

The definition of a snake oil salesman, Loria’s ownership of the Marlins has been horrendous. After winning the World Series in 2003, he oversaw a complete overhaul of his roster. He did everything he could to increase his bottom line, totally gutting the team. The results reflected his actions.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In the late 2000s, he went full oligarch and held the city hostage for a new stadium. He pulled the classic tactic of threatening to relocate if they didn’t pay. Ultimately they succumbed to his demands and funded the majority of the construction. He even lied and told Jose Reyes to buy a house in Miami four days before sending him to Canada.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

6. The Oystons – Blackpool

Owen and his son Karl are definitely the two most despised owners in soccer history. It’s a tale of harrowing neglect that stretched back to 1988. First, there was a rape conviction for Owen in 1995. Then they sued supporters who dared to criticize them for their handling of the club. But that wasn’t all.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Their illegitimate asset stripping is what really got the fans furious. When they went back down that cost them dearly and the team suffered badly. Fans protested and stayed away from the stadium. A court ordered the Oystons to pay $35 million owed to their minority shareholder. Finally, they put the club up for sale.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Robert and Jim Irsay – Indianapolis Colts

This father and son duo definitely riled up the masses. First of all, Robert moved the Colts in the dead of night from Baltimore to Indianapolis to avoid the city seizing the franchise. In short, this made him a major hate figure in Maryland. To this day, the Ravens won’t display the Colts name when they host Indianapolis.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

After the death of his father, Jim became the youngest ever NFL owner. He helped to bring his franchise a Super Bowl, but his overall lack of class has seen him earn the disgust of many fans. When his mistress overdosed in a house bought with Colts’ money, it really set things off.

Mandatory Credit: Newsday

4. John Spano – New York Islanders

When a new owner comes in, the first thing that fans want to know is, how much money does he have? It quickly becomes clear that they’re more than willing to overlook shady pasts or dubious morals if they’re going to invest heavily in their team. But if they don’t, it’s unforgivable.

Mandatory Credit: Newsday

Enter Spano. It quickly became clear that all of his promises were lies and that he didn’t have the money for a new suit, nevermind investment in his franchise. Finally, in 1997 the NFL forced him out of the Islanders. Then a court convicted and jailed him twice for fraud.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

3. Frank McCourt – Los Angeles Dodgers

The former Dodgers owner is one of the shadiest figures to ever own a US franchise. According to the LA Times, he was the most hated man in Los Angeles. He pulled over $100 million in team assets to fund his lavish lifestyle. That definitely won’t help you win the love of the fans.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

He managed to run up massive debts, even owing money to legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. Then there was his messy divorce with his former wife Jamie. After the MLB raised concerns over the franchise’s finances, he finally reached a deal to put them up for sale.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Daniel Snyder – Washington Redskins

One of the worst owners in the world, Snyder has made a total mess out of the Redskins. Fans totally despise him and want him gone. You can’t blame them either. In 2008, many season ticket holders couldn’t afford to pay because of the recession. Snyder’s response was to sue them.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The team has also been dramatically unsuccessful on the field. You can get away with being a terrible person as long as the franchise is winning. You could call them consistent, but consistently awful. From ineptitude on the field to the dysfunction in the board room, his reign of terror is crippling the franchise.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Mark Davis – Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are one of the most distinctive franchises in the US. With their black and silver colors, their fanbase is famously fanatical. They’re part of Oakland’s fabric or were until Mark Davis lost patience with the city. From 2020 forward, they’ll be playing their home games in Las Vegas.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

After struggling to get support for a new stadium, Davis gave up trying. Against the will of the fans, he decided to move the franchise to Sin City. After their final game in Oakland, a defeat to the Jaguars, he showed no remorse or sympathy to the plight of those left behind. He’s heartless and has a terrible haircut.

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