Tesla chair and Blackbird partner Robyn Denholm is the latest tech titan bitten by the sports bug, buying into Australian basketball team The Sydney Kings.
Denholm’s 30% stake in the Kings, through its family investment office, Wollemi Capital Group (WGC), also includes Women’s NBL club Sydney Flames.
Majority owner and Kings chairman Paul Smith sells a stake in the club’s holding company Hoops Capital, co-owned by outspoken former basketball player Andrew Bogut.
Denholm launched Wollemi Capital last year to invest in companies and ventures that have a positive impact on communities. While owning a sports team is often seen as a trophy for billionaires, WCG considers the positive effects of sports a key focus. Her adult children, Matthew and Victoria, grew up as basketball fans watching the Kings before the family moved to the US will be involved with the club as Denholm brings her managerial skills to the company.
Smith said the agreement marked an important milestone for the growth of the Kings and basketball in Australia.
“We are delighted to have Robyn join us in her capacity as founder of the Wollemi Capital Group. With her business acumen and experience, she will be an asset to our board,” he said.
“She joins us alongside Matthew and Victoria, who have a clear passion for both men’s and women’s basketball. I think this diversity will put us in a great place to achieve something really meaningful in the next 20 years.”
Denholm said she was “blown away” by the vision and work of Smith and Hoops Capital.
“We are particularly impressed with the commitment to diversity shown by being the only organization in Australia to have both top-level female and male basketball teams. Wollemi Capital Group is delighted to enter into a long-term partnership,” she said.
Matthew Denholm said they have tremendous potential for the growth of basketball in NSW and nationally.
“This is a very family passion and we hope that by being part of the Hoops Capital family we can advance basketball and grow the sport so that everyone can experience the unique joy of basketball in our community,” he said.
Basketball is a fast-growing sport in Australia, with the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup, featuring national teams from 12 countries playing 38 matches over 10 days starting September 22 in Sydney.
Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of Atlassian, also owns a basketball team, after he acquired a stake in the US NBA team Utah Jazz for A$2.2 billion in late 2020, along with fellow Americans. tech billionaire Ryan Smith, co-founder of Qualtrics, and Accel VC investor Ryan Sweeney.
In November last year, Cannon-Brookes, along with actor Russell Crowe and fellow billionaire James Packer, signed a 25% stake in the South Sydney NRL club.