When Mark Cuban bought the Mavericks in 2000, the franchise’s profile shot up the charts. Cuban’s outspoken personality didn’t just make him the most recognizable NBA owner this side of Jerry Buss, it made the Mavericks, previously a fairly anonymous franchise without much history, instantly recognizable as one of the more public franchises in the league. Though Cuban was obviously more willing to put money into the franchise than previous owners, much of Dallas’ increased profile over the past years comes from Cuban staying in the public eye.
The Mavericks aren’t the only franchise to experience this; they’re not even the only franchise in the city of Dallas. Jerry Jones has become synonymous with the Cowboys since buying them. The Cowboys experienced success before his acquisition of the franchise, but Jones’ high profile has played a big role in the coverage the Cowboys receive, even when they’re bad.
Before George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973, the team had been on hard times with a rapidly decreasing national and local profile, especially with the success of the Mets. After Steinbrenner began dominating the back pages of local tabloids, the team never took a backseat again, even when the Mets were dominant during the ’80s.
In New England, Robert Kraft hasn’t been quite as outspoken, but his public demand of an apology for Deflategate back in 2015 certainly drew more attention to the story and the Super Bowl.
That doesn’t mean more reserved owners aren’t good for their teams. The Mara family is generally quiet and speak only when action or their leading opinions are needed. John Henry doesn’t make many media appearances for the Red Sox, but he has always had Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner at his side as the public facing front office team.
The problem is a lot of owners going through issues would rather be quiet. Daniel Snyder probably won’t get much sympathy even if he acted like Mark Cuban. It’s all well and good to be out in front of a microphone when things are going well, but the last thing an owner should do is be outspoken when his team is going through challenges.
Ultimately, the most recognizable owners often come with the most recognizable teams. That may be more than a coincidence.