Who is Mickey Arison? Net worth and career earnings of Miami Heat owner

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Mickey Arison
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Within the past few decades, the Heat have gradually evolved into one of the most stable and successful franchises in the NBA. Their owner Mickey Arison is a big reason why.

Arison purchased the team in 1995, and one of his first moves was to appoint Pat Riley as team president. It's safe to say that worked out pretty well for them both. Riley has overseen three championships during his tenure, including one as Miami's head coach in 2006. 

Now, the Heat are on the brink of their sixth NBA Finals appearance in the last 12 years, making Arison one of the most accomplished owners in the league today.

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But who is the billionaire at the helm of the Heat? Here's everything you need to know about Arison's pursuits inside and outside the world of basketball: 

Who is Mickey Arison?

Mickey Arison was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1949. His father, Ted Arison, was a very successful Israeli businessman who moved the family to the United States when Mickey was a young child. 

Shortly after the family relocated, Ted co-founded Norwegian Cruise Lines with shipping magnate Knut Kloster. The two had a falling out in the early 1970s that led Ted to form his own cruise company, Carnival Cruise Lines. Carnival quickly grew to become the largest cruise ship operator in the world, which it remains today. 

Ted provided financial backing for the group that founded the Heat in 1987, and he became the majority owner when the team was created. In 1995, Ted passed ownership of the team to Mickey, who has remained in charge ever since. 

Mickey also spent 34 years as the CEO of Carnival, helping to grow its fleet to more than 100 ships before stepping down in 2013. Under his tenure, the Heat have captured all three of their NBA championships and become one of the league's most consistently successful organizations. 

Mickey Arison net worth

According to Forbes, Arison has a net worth of roughly $5.6 billion, making him the 467th wealthiest person in the world. His net worth peaked in 2018 at $9.7 billion.  

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How much did Mickey Arison pay for the Heat?

According to HeatHoops.com, Arison paid $68 million to acquire the Heat from his father in 1995. When adjusted for inflation, that means the team is now worth about 22 times more than what he paid for it several decades ago. 

When the team was founded in 1988, Ted Arison, Billy Cunningham and Lewis Schaffel spent roughly $32.5 million in expansion fees to bring the team to Miami. 

NBA's most valuable teams

Forbes has the Heat ranked as the 12th most valuable team in the NBA, with a total value of about $3 billion as of October 2022. It's possible that number will rise following the team's success this season. 

Here is a look at the top ten most valuable franchises in the league today:

Rank Team Current value
1 Golden State Warriors $7 billion
2 New York Knicks $6.1 billion
3 Los Angeles Lakers $5.9 billion
4 Chicago Bulls $4.1 billion
5 Boston Celtics $4 billion
6 Los Angeles Clippers $3.9 billion
7 Brooklyn Nets $3.5 billion
8 Dallas Mavericks $3.3 billion
9 Houston Rockets $3.2 billion
10 Philadelphia 76ers $3.15 billion
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Sam Jarden is a content producer at Sporting News.
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