Donald Trump is not the most popular man in America right now, but he was almost the owner of one of the country’s most popular teams.
When the New England Patriots were rising to prominence in the 2000s, owner Robert Kraft was getting a lot of credit for building what would soon be the next great NFL dynasty. Kraft purchased the Patriots back in 1994 after purchasing the team’s stadium a few years earlier and turned his $172 million investment into a billion dynasty.
You know who likes solid returns on his investments — Donald Trump. Guess who passed on buying what is now one go the most profitable franchises in sports back in 1988?
According to the Boston Globe, the presidential candidate passed on the chance to own the New England Patriots when they were up for sale in 1988.
The billionaire reportedly passed on buying the Patriots in 1988 after his advisors informed him that the franchise was $104 million in debt.
Trump might have been avoiding what appeared to be a bad investment, but the Patriots weren’t that bad in 1988. They were less than five years removed from a trip to the Super Bowl, and while they were far removed from the team they are today, the franchise was less than a decade away from another trip to the Super Bowl.
Beyond the fact that Trump could have owned an NFL franchise — something he created the USFL for. There was no other reason for Trump to create a league to compete with the NFL other than he couldn’t own a franchise there. So when the opportunity came up for him to buy the Patriots and he passed, well that seems to go against his cavalier attitude towards owning a sports franchise.
Of course, Trump was probably burned out still from running the USFL into the ground, so you can’t blame him for chickening out when it came to putting his money where his mouth is.