NEW YORK (CHRIS SMITH @ FORBES.COM) — Warren Buffett, America’s second-richest man after Bill Gates, is worth $44 billion. The vast majority of that wealth is from Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s holding company based in Omaha, Nebraska, but a small portion comes courtesy of a Minor League Baseball team in the same state. Buffett owns a 25 percent stake in the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Kansas City Royals’ AAA farm team that is currently leading the Pacific Coast League’s American Northern division with a 36-25 record. The Storm Chasers rank No. 20 on our list of Minor League Baseball’s most valuable teams, taking home an estimated $8 million in revenue last season.
And Buffett isn’t the league’s only billionaire owner, either. Robert E. Rich, Jr., who made his $2.1 billion with food conglomerate Rich Products, owns the Buffalo Bisons (No. 13); Herb Simon, chairman and director of Simon Property – the nation’s largest publicly traded real estate investment trust – is a co-owner of the Reno Aces (No. 14).
Why would some of the nation’s wealthiest men be interested in owning such small professional sports teams? Simple: it’s smart business.
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