Pelicans owner Benson passes away at 90

The late Tom Benson was one of three owners of both an NBA and NFL franchise.

Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Pelicans, died Thursday at the age of 90, the team announced.

Benson was also the owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, making him just one of three owners of an NBA and NFL franchise at the time of his death. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton is named after him.

“The NBA family mourns the loss of New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Big-hearted and gracious, Tom topped off a distinguished business and sports career by acquiring the Pelicans in 2012.

“During his tenure, he hosted two highly-successful All-Star Games, rebranded the franchise and installed a first-class organization. He was a dear friend to me and so many others in the sports world, and the loss of his authentic and unique presence will leave an enormous void.”


“Benson, who made his fortune in the automobile and banking industries in New Orleans and San Antonio, was estimated to be worth $2.8 billion in 2017 by Forbes, which ranked him and his family as the richest in Louisiana.”

Benson was hospitalized in February with flu-like symptoms. He died Thursday with his wife, Gayle, by his side.

Paul Allen (Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks ) and Stan Kroenke (Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Rams) are the remaining owners of NFL and NBA franchises.