These Top 10 Celebrity Franchise Owners Are Winning Outside the Limelight, Too

UPDATED: April 29, 2024
PUBLISHED: May 3, 2024
Celebrity franchises owner Venus Williams smiling in a black and silver jacket

While celebrities might rake in millions from their “day jobs,” they’re also boosting their net worth through smart investments, endorsement deals and entrepreneurship. And, when it comes to creating wealth, diversifying financial portfolios and expanding their business, franchises emerge as a powerful asset, drawing high-profile figures like athletes, actors, singers and other celebrities into this profitable business model.

Which celebrities refining their business acumen outside of the limelight? Take a look at these 10 business-savvy celebrity franchises owners.

Patrick Mahomes

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback tastes victory both on and off the field. Mahomes not only holds the NFL’s largest-ever contract (a $450 million extension in 2020), but he also owns a stake in the Texas-based Whataburger franchise. The franchise, which averages an estimated $3.2 million in revenue at each location, plans to open 30 locations throughout the next few years in Missouri and Kansas. In 2020, Mahomes also bought a minority stake in the Kansas City Royals sports franchise.

Rick Ross

As the founder of Maybach Music Group, Ross doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to franchise investments. The rapper owns nearly 30 Wingstop restaurants. According to Ross, the franchises generate roughly $7 million for him annually. The franchise’s profitability might explain why he gave one of his Wingstop locations to his son as a gift for his 16th birthday.

Magic Johnson

Since earning over $100 million (when adjusted for inflation) as an NBA superstar, Magic Johnson has developed into an astute investor, building a net worth of roughly $1.2 billion. As of 2022, the former Los Angeles Lakers star owned several TGI Fridays franchise locations and several Starbucks coffee shops. Going back to his athletic roots, Johnson also holds ownership interests in multiple sports franchises, including the Washington Commanders (NFL), the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), the Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA) and the Los Angeles Football Club (MLS).

Drew Brees

The former NFL quarterback scored a touchdown in retirement with his investment in multiple franchises. With a reported net worth of about $160 million, the retired New Orleans Saints star invested in the fitness-focused Stretch Zone, the healthy-foods-focused Everbowl, Dunkin’, Happy’s Irish Pub and Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux.

Mark Wahlberg

Proving himself a success both on- and off-screen, Wahlberg owns or invests in a variety of businesses ranging from apparel and food to car dealerships and fitness. Perhaps Wahlberg’s most famous venture is the Wahlburgers franchise he and his brothers founded in 2011. It continues to expand around the world, with more than 100 locations (as of press time) and a 2022 launch into Australia. It’s no surprise that Wahlberg, a workout fanatic, also invested in F45 Training, a Texas-based fitness franchise focusing on HIIT-style workouts. In 2019, he acquired a pre-IPO stake in the business (valued at roughly $450 million), which boasts more than 2,000 locations globally.

Venus Williams

Hitting a grand slam with her ownership of four Jamba franchises, tennis legend Venus Williams fell in love with the health-focused brand. Famous for its customizable smoothies, juices and healthy bowls, Jamba boasts more than 750 locations in the U.S., with each location generating roughly $731,000 in revenue every year (as of 2022). Along with sister Serena, she also owns a stake in the Miami Dolphins franchise.


Launched as a pop-up Hollywood eatery in 2017, Dave’s Hot Chicken franchise caught the eye of rapper Drake who signed on as a stakeholder in 2021. With over 700 U.S. and international locations, the company saw 156% total sales growth in 2022 versus 2021.


Since retiring, this larger-than-life basketball player has made a second career out of wise investing. With a net worth of over $400 million (thanks, in part, to his ownership of multiple fast-food franchises), Shaquille O’Neal owns 155 Five Guys burger joints, 17 Auntie Anne’s locations, as well as Papa Johns pizzerias, Krispy Kreme donut shops and Big Chicken sandwich eateries.

Megan Thee Stallion

This Grammy-winning rapper inked a sizzling deal with the Miami, Florida-based Popeyes fried chicken franchise. Not only does Stallion own multiple locations, but her unique partnership also involves branded merch (Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce, apparel and other products), a sizable philanthropic donation and a development deal that designates her as a franchise operator. Founded in 1972, Popeyes boasts more than 2,700 restaurants in the U.S. and globally, with each location bringing in up to nearly $2 million in revenue.

LeBron James

The NBA icon hit a slam dunk in 2012 when he invested less than $1 million in the build-your-own-pie startup Blaze Pizza, headquartered in Pasadena, California. Since then, the franchise has mushroomed into more than 340 locations across 38 states and six countries. As of 2020, this part ownership/investment in the fast-casual pizza franchise has delivered an equity stake of about $35 million.

Photo by Lev Radin/

Lisa Beach is an Orlando freelance journalist, copywriter, and content marketing writer covering travel/food/lifestyle/wellness. She’s been published in The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, Hemispheres, Good Housekeeping, and Parade. Check out her writer’s website at