Robert Kraft is an American business mogul and the founder of New England Patriots. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of ‘The Kraft Group.’ As a football lover, he has various sports holdings, including for clubs like National Football League’s ‘New England Patriots and Major League Soccer’s ‘New England Revolution.
He made news in 1994 when he acquired the ‘Patriots,’ who had won only 19 games the previous five seasons, making people worry whether he had somehow made a terrible mistake. But the ‘New England Patriots went on to become one of the most successful teams in NFL history, proving Robert Kraft’s doubters incorrect. Born into an orthodox Jewish household in Massachusetts, he was trained to be a rabbi.
Fate had other ideas for Robert so he went on to get an MBA from ‘Harvard Business School’ and became the head of the ‘Newton Democratic City Committee’ at the age of 27. Intelligent and ambitious, Kraft began working with his father-in-law at the ‘Rand-Whitney Group before forming ‘International Forest Products.’ Thanks to his enthusiasm for sports, he also owned teams including ‘Boston Lobsters,’ ‘New England Patriots,’ and ‘New England Revolution.’
Kraft’s first sports-related enterprise was the Boston Lobsters, a team in Billie Jean King’s World Team Tennis (WTT) league. He owned the Lobsters with numerous partners in 1975, but the tennis team dissolved in 1978 when the original WTT disbanded. In 1985 he leased, with an option to buy, a vast piece of property in suburban Foxborough, Massachusetts, that encompassed Sullivan Stadium (later Foxboro Stadium), the home of the New England Patriots. In 1988, together with a partner whose interest he eventually bought out, he purchased the stadium.
He ultimately purchased the franchise in January 1994, paying $172 million, the highest price for an NFL team up to that time. The seller, James Busch Orthwein, had acquired the Patriots in 1992 with the aim of transferring them to St. Louis but was foiled when Kraft refused to allow him to buy the club out of its stadium lease.
The Patriots improved considerably in the 1994 season, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Two years later the squad participated in the Super Bowl for only the second time in its existence. In 2000 Kraft recruited Bill Belichick as head coach, and the move helped convert the Patriots into one of the NFL’s best teams, winning six Super Bowls (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017, and 2019). (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017, and 2019).
With club earnings growing, Kraft was urged to replace Foxboro Stadium with Gillette Stadium, which he erected on an adjoining site in 2002. Most NFL stadium building was highly supported by the government, whereas Kraft financed Gillette Stadium with 83 percent private money. He then created Patriot Place, a hotel, retail, eating, and entertainment complex close to the new stadium.
He finally formed the ‘Kraft Group’ as a holding company to oversee his many business assets. In addition, he is also a well-known philanthropist. He has contributed over $100 million to a number of humanitarian projects.
In February 2019 Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitutes, however, the accusations were withdrawn the following year.