WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW HIM: Because the 48-year-old scion has inherited his late father Lamar’s role in building the National Football League, Major League Soccer, and the Hunt family’s sports empire, which includes FC Dallas, the Kansas City Chiefs, and a stake in the Chicago Bulls. Clark Hunt is a powerful presence in both the NFL and MLS, serving on the soccer league’s board of governors and playing a key role in the negotiation of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players.
His family’s Hunt Sports Group is an estimated $1.3 billion operation, one that Hunt expects to grow as leagues expand. He’s bullish on the NFL’s growth overseas (“Long term there might be the opportunity to have a team in London, or perhaps play a marquee event like the Super Bowl in London,” he says), and MLS, which has doubled in size over the past 10 years.
Hunt recently sold soccer’s Columbus Crew for a record $68 million. He has shown resilience during a difficult year, which included a poor on-field performance by the Chiefs, a murder-suicide involving Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, and the resignation of FC Dallas President Doug Quinn after charges of domestic assault.
“Any time you have a crisis, it is very important for ownership to step forward from a leadership standpoint,” Hunt says. “It is not something you could ever prepare for. I don’t know that we came out of it better, but certainly we came out of it closer.”
Hunt grew up accompanying his father to games when he was younger and business meetings when he was a bit older. He says he has found strength by involving his family in all aspects of his business. When Quinn stepped down at FC Dallas, for example, Hunt tapped his brother Daniel to take over. In a city dominated by larger-than-life sports ownership personalities like Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban, Hunt has retained a low profile, winning respect for sharing his father’s humility and family-oriented business practices. “Every owner has to run their team as they think appropriate,” Hunt says. “I don’t feel like I need to be in the limelight. I like our players and our coaching staff to be in the limelight.”