Even as the luxury housing market fluctuates, one thing remains steady: sports celebs love to play the real estate game.
Last year, celebrated University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban splashed out eight figures for a mega-mansion in South Florida, while NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw offloaded his sprawling Oklahoma ranch. At the same time, Chicago Bulls shooting guard and two-time NBA All-Star Zach LaVine set a record when he scored a lavish estate in southern California’s Newport Beach.
A new report from luxury real estate brokerage RubyHome Northwest analyzed the 10 biggest property moves made by sports figures in 2023, whether that meant investing in a new home, putting a residence on the market, or selling a swanky place for a profit. At the top of the list was LaVine, whose $34 million transaction made headlines as the priciest home ever sold in Orange County’s exclusive Pelican Crest community. The athlete’s new digs, a Tuscan-style mansion, measures 11,200 square feet and offers six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, The Real Deal reported. Originally built in 2010, the villa has sweeping views of Newport Beach. Plus, it’s packed with tons of perks, including a movie theater, a private gym, a golf simulator, and a swimming pool.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford came in second place after the Super Bowl LVI champ threw down a cool $28.2 million on a spec home in Hidden Hills—the most ever paid for a house in the guard-gated community that is a favorite among music stars, professional athletes, and the Kardashian family. Stafford and his wife, Kelly, also own the house next door, which they purchased in 2022 for $10.5 million.
“With new milestones set by Zach LaVine and Matt Stafford, the data underscores a vibrant landscape within the sports celebrity real estate realm, with approximately 14 sports stars making acquisitions, 47 listing properties, and 36 completing sales in the past year,” a spokesperson for RubyHome Northwest said in a press statement. “We also found football stars are the most dominant in the results, showcasing NFL names as strategic buyers and adept at leveraging their property assets.”
Speaking of football stars, legendary Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw parted ways with his custom-built, 744-acre ranch near the Texas border, Icon Global confirmed in a news release. Last asking $22.5 million, the longtime Fox Sports broadcaster’s former estate includes eight lakes and ponds, horse stables, riding trails, several barns, and an 8,600-square-foot residence.
Holding down the fourth spot is retired NBA point guard Goran Dragic, who is hoping someone scoops up his Miami abode, which is currently on the market for just shy of $20 million. Dubbed La Grande Dame (shout out, Karen Huger!), the 6,000-square-foot home is positioned on Biscayne Bay and comprises seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
It appears Saban, who announced last week that he’s stepping down from coaching college football after a successful 17-year run, will be spending some of his retirement in the Sunshine State, where last year he dropped $17.5 million for a palatial home on Jupiter Island. The waterfront home, which was listed with Joanne Wagner and Susan Turner of The Corcoran Group, includes a private dock, a 40,000-pound boat lift, and 150 feet of ocean frontage.
Along those same lines, Justin Verlander picked up a $16.75 million penthouse in New York City after the MLB pitcher inked a deal with the Mets, while former NBA star Jason Kapono is aiming to offload his 6,200-square-foot-home in Austin, Texas, which hit the market last October for $13.5 million.
In the eighth spot is former Atlanta Braves great Chipper Jones, who landed a buyer for his 37-acre spread in Georgia. The massive property, which fetched a record-setting $11 million, is equipped with eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a horse barn, a movie theater, a bike track, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Next up was Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff, who shelled out $10.5 million for a new home in Manhattan Beach, California. The property was previously owned by Modern Family executive producer Danny Zuker and by MLB pitcher Ken Brett. (It was also formerly occupied by NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal.) More recently, Goff picked up the house next door for $8.6 million.
Last on the list, but definitely not least, off-road racer-turned-developer Roger Norman parted ways with his record-setting acquisition of a huge home in Reno, Nevada. Dubbed the Pennington Mansion, the stone-clad crib clocks in at 20,000 square feet; the $10.3 million deal went down as the biggest in the city’s history.