Financial slam dunk
Texas billionaire couple champions women's sports with major investment in WNBA
Texas billionaire Michael Dell might not play basketball, but he and his wife, Susan, are becoming big players in the sport.
Last year, the Dells bought a 10 percent share of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Now, the Dells are investors in the WNBA, the 12-team women’s league associated with the NBA. They recently chipped in an undisclosed sum as part of a $75 million fundraising haul for the WNBA. The funding will help fuel growth of the WNBA brand, including the potential addition of teams.
Right now, the WNBA has only one team in Texas: the Dallas Wings.
“Susan and I are excited about the growth opportunity in women’s sports and specifically the WNBA,” Michael Dell says in a WNBA news release. “We also are proud to support a league that is committed to empowerment, and we look forward to supporting [WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert] and all the accomplished and diverse women of the WNBA to make a positive impact in the world.”
Michael Dell is founder, chairman, and CEO of Round Rock-based Dell Technologies. As of February 8, Forbes estimated his net worth at $61.8 billion.
Dallas Wings lead owner Bill Cameron contributed to the WNBA’s $75 million pool of capital. He’s also part owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Cameron, chairman and CEO of insurance provider American Fidelity Corp., lives in Oklahoma City.
Aside from the Dells and Cameron, new investors in the WNBA include:
- Former Spurs player Pau Gasol.
- Brad Hilsabeck, a minority investor in the Dallas Wings.
- Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
- Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
- Sports apparel maker Nike.
Cathy Engelbert, former CEO of consulting giant Deloitte, says the WNBA will put the investors’ money toward driving “the league’s brand as a bold, progressive entertainment and media property that embodies diversity, promotes equity, advocates for social justice, and stands for the power of women.”