Michael Jordan's Multi-Million-Dollar Investment In Motorsports

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Michael Jordan refused to leave competitive sports behind when he retired in 2003.

He quickly purchased a minority stake in his home state NBA team Charlotte Bobcats (now Charlotte Hornets), and has been the majority owner and chairman since 2010.

Jordan also owns an $8 million fishing boat named “Catch 23” that he regularly uses to compete in tournaments like the White Marlin Open, an annual tournament in Ocean City, Maryland, that draws over 450 boats, more than 4,000 contestants, and pays out nearly $7 million in prize money.

And that doesn’t even cover his love for golf.

In addition to routinely attending prestigious events like the Ryder Cup — MJ has attended every Ryder Cup match since 1995, both in the United States & Europe — Michael Jordan also opened “The Grove Golf Club XXXIII” in South Florida.

The Grove Golf Club XXXIII is one of the nicest and most exclusive golf clubs in the world, including a 15,000-square-foot clubhouse, drones that deliver food & drinks on the course, and a member list that still sits south of 100 people total.

The interesting part: He might be having the most success on the racetrack.

As the co-owner of the 23XI Racing Team, Michael Jordan earned his first NASCAR Cup Series victory when Bubba Wallace won Monday’s rain-soaked playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

"I'm so happy for Bubba and our entire 23XI Racing team," Michael Jordan said. "This is a huge milestone and a historic win for us. From the day we signed him, I knew Bubba had the talent to win, and Denny and I could not be more proud of him. Let's go!"

NASCAR legend Denny Hamlin is also a co-owner of the team.

Michael Jordan has always had a love for motorsports. He famously rode his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Motorcycle around Chicago while winning championships for the Bulls in the 1990s, but he also previously owned a motorcycle racing team.

From 2004 to 2014, the NBA legend ran the “Michael Jordan Motorsports Racing Team,” a full-time participant in the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Pro Superbike racing series.

The team had up down success for a decade, finishing as low as 35th one year and as high as 3rd another, but they eventually shut down due to the mounting financial commitment.

Not only did a bike costs over $5 million annually just to operate, but if you really wanted to compete, you needed to be willing to spend much more — think Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari in Formula 1.

So, that’s where NASCAR comes in.

History of Jordan Motorsports Team | SneakerNews.com
(Image: Sneaker News)

Rather than taking years and millions of dollars to develop the technical expertise required to build a competitive car within NASCAR, Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing Team signed a partnership deal with Toyota & Joe Gibbs Racing.

Here’s how it works — the 23XI Racing Team writes Toyota & Joe Gibbs Racing an annual check for equipment, cars, services, technical information, and updates throughout the year.

The best part? This enabled them to be competitive right away, with Bubba Wallace winning a race for the team in its first year of existence.

"My main goal for 23XI Racing is to be competitive for a championship as soon as possible. Our partnership with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing gives us the equipment, resources and expertise to do it."

Here’s how NASCAR economics shake out:

  • It costs around $400,000 to build a car

  • Expenses per race can be $1 million or higher

  • Annual costs to run a competitive team are $20 million to $30 million

So, on the sponsorship front, 23XI Racing signed an impressive list of primary sponsors, including McDonald’s, DoorDash, Columbia Sportswear, Dr Pepper, and Root Insurance.

These deals can pay anywhere from $5 million to $35 million annually and provide sponsors coverage on the car’s hood, rear quarter panel, TV panel, deck lid, and roof panel.

Furthermore, outside of primary sponsors, 23XI Racing also has a list of associate sponsors that can pay between $250,000 to $2 million annually but receive much less exposure than their primary counterparts.

It will take some time to see how competitive 23XI Racing is in the long run, but ultimately, it’s super impressive that they were able to win a race in their first year.

Plenty of celebrities have dabbled in NASCAR team ownership and failed — think Dan Marino & Julius Erving — but Michael Jordan appears to be taking the right approach, teaming up with a veteran like Denny Hamlin and relying on an established NASCAR team for technical expertise.

It will be fun to see how this plays out over the coming years. I hope each of you has a great day, and I’ll talk to everyone tomorrow.

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Huddle Up is a daily letter that breaks down the business and money behind sports.

Join more than 48,000 professional athletes, business executives, and casual sports fans that receive it directly in their inbox each morning — it’s free.

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