Former NBA and NFL team owner, businessman Red McCombs, dies

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Billy Joe "Red" McCombs, the former owner of two NBA teams, an NFL franchise and longtime Texas businessman, died at his home in San Antonio, according to a statement from his family Monday.

McCombs was 95 years old and his wife, Charline, preceded him in death in 2019.

“The entire McCombs family is heartbroken to announce that our father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Red McCombs, passed away on Sunday, February 19, 2023,” according to the statement that called McCombs “an icon of Texas.”

"Red was a visionary entrepreneur who touched many lives and impacted our community in immeasurable ways," the statement said. "But for us he was always, first and foremost, 'dad' or 'poppop.'"

McCombs owned more than 400 businesses during his lifetime, according to the McCombs Enterprises website, and the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin is named after him.

He twice owned the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and between those two ownership stints owned the league's Denver Nuggets and later the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

In a statement, the Vikings expressed their gratitude to McCombs and their condolences to his family.

“Red embodied his famous phrase 'Purple Pride' and remained a die-hard Vikings fan” after selling his ownership of the team, according to the statement.

"While Red had a clear passion for sports, it was clear that what he loved most were his children and grandchildren," the statement said.

McCombs also played a significant role in the return of Formula One to the United States. He was one of the biggest investors in the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, the first purpose-built F1 race track in the US and home of the US Grand Prix since 2012.

The Texas speedway and annual grand prix were instrumental in the racing world series' efforts to establish and grow a significant presence in the US. Formula One will race three times in the country in 2023, in Austin and Miami and the debut of Las Vegas Grand Price

Starting out as a car salesman in the early 1950s in Corpus Christi, Texas, he would later establish Red McCombs Automotive, a dealership group in San Antonio.

He later established McCombs Energy, an oil and gas industry company, and operated real estate and land development companies, cattle ranches, and ranching operations. He was also a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, which later became iHeartCommunications, Inc.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called McCombs an inspiration and "a true Texas titan in sports, media, business and philanthropy."

“Red's determination, achievements and positive spirit will live on forever as he embodied a relentless and passionate approach to life, relationships and community,” said Jones.

McCombs is survived by his daughters Lynda McCombs, Marsha Shields, and Connie McNab, as well as eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were not announced.

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