Kerry Packer Bio
Although he passed away in 2005 at the age of just 68, the Australian media mogul Kerry Packer still casts a long shadow over the worlds of business, sports, and gaming, all three of which he approached with a legendary ruthlessness and zeal.
Here we take a look at the life and times of a man who was used to going head-to-head with some of the most powerful men on the planet and winning.
Much like Rupert Murdoch, Packer made his initial fortune thanks to media operations in Australia, before branching out to become one of the biggest names in world business
When he died, Packer was reported to have been worth something in the region of $5 billion. Such wealth originally came from his newspaper and media empire, although he would later branch out into other sectors. These included things like professional sports leagues and even land-based casinos, both of which aligned with passions Packer held away from the high-powered business world.
A Gamer Through and Through
When Packer inherited his business empire, it was a portfolio that mainly consisted of various media outlets, from local news stations all the way through to massive national networks like The Nine Network. However, coming a close second to his investments in the media landscape were the Aussie’s investments in gaming real estate.
This culminated in him striking deals with casino operators in places as a far afield as Las Vegas and Macau, both of which were places that Packer himself liked to frequent during his limited downtime. Indeed, before his untimely demise in 2005 his business was already transitioning towards enterprises that were set to endure the internet and digital age, meaning that it would probably have only been a matter of time before his global conglomerate invested in gaming companies with online capabilities. This is also because Packer was a world-renowned gamer in his day, with pit bosses across the globe always put on high alert when he set foot on their casino floor. No doubt he would have loved frequenting the many high roller tables that are now available via websites and mobile apps. Being a shrewd businessman right to the end, he also would not have passed up on the opportunity to invest in such revolutionary online gaming technology and platforms.
Cricket was one of Packer’s passions away from business and he tried to monopolise the sport by setting up his very own global cricket league, which in the end failed to take off
Cricket, Rugby, and Polo
Gaming aside, Packer was obsessed with sport and particularly two sporting pursuits that are practically Australia’s national pastimes: cricket and rugby. Not content with merely playing and spectating the sports, he took to trying to take them over. This was particularly true of cricket where he set up World Series Cricket. This project involved Packer pouring large swathes of his personal wealth into tempting some of the planet’s biggest cricket stars to join his breakaway league. In the end, though, there was not quite the appetite for the new league as Packer had hoped and he was forced to wind the operation up.
Following his attempts to make waves in cricket, Packer also made similar moves in rugby. He formed the World Rugby Corporation (WRC) and initially had several top rugby union clubs from Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand interested in the project. Unfortunately for Packer and his fellow disruptors, the pre-existing rugby governing bodies threatened players with being banned from playing for their respective national teams ever again if they took part in the WRC. This soon dampened the appetite for the WRC, which swiftly collapsed as one by one, each top rugby union player pulled out of the deal.
The one other sport that Packer always held dear was polo, with the billionaire dedicating three months of each year to the polo season. However, rather than just being an interested spectator, Packer played, and to a high level.