While serving in the United States Army after World War II, Robert Kraft attended a football game at Soldiers Field in Boston. Having watched Harvard University defeat Yale University 14-0, he was inspired to attend his first American Football League (AFL) game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. At this time, Mr. Kraft realized that he had a deep admiration and passion for football (lacrosse was his sport of choice during high school and college).
After attending several more sports events, Mr. Kraft began thinking about owning a professional sports team. He explained, “I never spoke about it until I had some success as an entrepreneur. It wasn’t a dream as much as an ambition” (biography.com). However, Mr. Kraft did not purchase his first NFL team until twenty-three years later, when he bought the New England Patriots for $172 million in 1994.
Until this time, Mr. Kraft was primarily known as the owner of the paper and packaging company, Rand-Whitney Group, and his philanthropic work. He was the chairman of the board for Family Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust with holdings throughout New England. For these reasons, The Kraft Group was not known for being involved in professional sports until Robert Kraft bought his first NFL team – the Patriots – in 1994 at age 57.
Under his leadership, The Patriots have won 6 Super Bowl championships, most recently defeating the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl LII in February 2018. This is the most titles of any team in NFL history and more than any other sports franchise in the world. Robert Kraft has also built the New England Revolution into one of the best teams in Major League Soccer, winning 7 trophies for this team.
Robert Kraft is famously known as the most recent recipient of the “Golden Opera House Award.” This honor was given to him at Lincoln Center on June 12, 2017, by Phil Jackson, who coached both Mr. Kraft’s teams. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Columbia University, The American Repertory Theater, and several other organizations and serves as honorary chairman of the board for both the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. See this article for additional information.
Learn more about Kraft on https://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-Kraft