Tom Brady and Robert Kraft had a headline-making hug at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday, Oct. 3. Brady, of course, is the NFL quarterback who played for the New England Patriots for 20 seasons before decamping to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And Kraft is the business mogul who owns the Patriots, whom the Bucs were facing on Sunday night. “I’m always rooting for Tommy, except when he’s playing us,” Kraft told NFL Network on Oct. 3.
In case you didn’t know, Kraft’s ownership of the Pats is just one jewel in his crown. According to his official bio, the 80-year-old’s other holdings include the New England Revolution, the Boston Uprising, Gillette Stadium, International Forest Products, Rand-Whitney Group, and Rand-Whitney Containerboard. And to think this billionaire once made his money selling newspapers at a Boston stadium.
Kraft started his career at the Rand-Whitney Group, then acquired the company
Kraft’s Forbes profile—which pinpoints his net worth as of Oct. 4, at $8.3 billion—notes that he had a childhood job selling newspapers outside Boston’s old Braves Field, a baseball stadium where the Braves played before moving to Milwaukee and later Atlanta.
According to CNN Business, Kraft graduated from Harvard Business School in 1965 and started working for the Rand-Whitney Group, a paper and packaging company that his father-in-law owned. Through a leveraged buyout, Kraft acquired a controlling stake in the business in 1968. And four years after that, he founded International Forest Products, a trader of forest product commodities.
His journey to Patriots ownership started with the old stadium’s parking lot
Kraft’s bio details his long road to owning the New England Patriots. In 1985, he purchased an option on the land surrounding the team’s old Foxboro Stadium. (Inc. reports that land held the stadium’s parking lots and that Kraft committed to paying a total of $27 million for a ten-year option.) Then, in 1988, he bought the stadium out of bankruptcy court, and in 1994, he committed $172 million to purchase the Patriots, passing on a $75 million buyout offer.
Kraft founded the New England Revolution in 1996
Not only did Kraft and his family found Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution in 1996, but they also helped found the whole MLS, as the Kraft Group website touts. And the Revolution has become a standout in the league, reaching the MLS Cup five times in the league’s first 20 years.
He and his son launched the Boston Uprising in 2017
In 2017, Kraft founded the Boston Uprising, an e-sports team competing in the Overwatch League, alongside his son. At the time, according to MassLive, Kraft said that his company “is eager to use the Boston Uprising to introduce Boston and our franchise” to e-sports fans around the world. “We are currently assembling a team that we anticipate will compete for championships, as Boston sports fans have come to expect from all of their professional teams,” he added.