Patrick Mahomes has always wanted to invest in Kansas City and some of its prominent institutions when he bought into the ownership groups of two of the city’s pro sports franchises, Major League Baseball’s Royals and Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City.
For Mahomes, it’s not just an expensive hobby. For now he’s content with his current job as quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, but Mahomes views these investments as internships of sorts in preparing him for his next job.
“This is just a start, honestly,” Mahomes said of his interest in pro sports ownership. “I want to invest in the Kansas City community, and I want to have something that my kids will be able to have once I’m gone. You buy into these great franchises that love Kansas City in the hope that one day you could become one of the majority owners of something. I don’t know what that is yet, but that’s the hope one day.”
“I don’t think you’ve seen a football player do that yet, but it’s definitely something I’ve looked into. It’s a long process, and getting to learn from some of these people that run great franchises now is definitely going to help me in the long run.”
Mahomes is 26, so he has years before he will be joining Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and others as an elite athlete who later owns a pro sports franchise. Mahomes, who is signed through 2031, will keep his current job for another decade, if not longer.
“I would always keep my options open, but I’ve always tried to go with Kansas City first,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. You look at things like trying to find a way to bring an NBA team to Kansas City, try to do stuff like that [or] a hockey team, all of that different type of stuff. I would definitely say my first option would be to try to do something in Kansas City and at the last resort, if that didn’t work, I would try to figure out maybe something else.
“You can’t play football forever. I want to play for a long time but you can’t play forever but I always want to be involved in sports in some way.”
“He’s not just a disinterested, very well-paid athlete trying to create some visibility that doesn’t have anything to do with his chosen sport or vocation,” Illig said. “It’s much more than that. He’s a sponge. He’s trying to learn as much as he can learn. He knows he’ll learn more by being involved more. We have three or four owners meetings a year with our little owners’ group, and he will be welcomed at those.
“We want to be open with him. We want him to understand how the business of sports works, at least from our vantage point in soccer, and if he’s doing the same thing with John and the Royals, he’s getting a pretty good education.”
Mahomes has no formal role with either team other than to provide his support.
“I don’t get to make any decisions,” he said. “I’m not talking to [Royals president] Dayton Moore or anything like that. The biggest thing for me is that I get to watch and see how things are done. You get to kind of get to talk to those guys, those owners like the Shermans and the Illigs, and see how things are done. I’m not making decisions or anything like that, but you kind of get to see what the process is and what their vision is for the future of those organizations. I see it as a big-picture thing.
“Obviously, I’m busy right now. I’m playing sports, and I want to make sure I’m on the top of my game. But football is not forever, and I want to learn from these people that have had so much success in building franchises and having ownership and being able to manage on-field production and off-field stuff. Being able to ask those questions and be around people who have so much success is going to help me.”
That homework should come in handy if Mahomes eventually follows through on his ownership plans. Seeing the game from a different angle can be an education, even for elite athletes.
The thing that’s going to be great for [Mahomes] is that he’s a player who you can tell is absolutely loved by his teammates and is a leader. He’ll come into it with the mindset of making things better for the players. He’ll understand the players have rights and a voice and should be a part of building something together.
Mahomes said he already has selected his management style. He won’t be firing anyone after a disappointing loss but will keep his emotions out of any decision.
“I’ll definitely be the patient type of owner.” he said. “I’ve played the sports and understand what the coaches are putting in day-to-day and the players are putting in day-to-day and general managers and everything. They’re working their tails off to be the best they can possibly be. Unless people come to me for advice, I’ll watch and let those guys handle their business knowing they’re doing everything they can to win.”