Boston Celtics (Wyc Grousbeck, Highland Capital Partners and Stephen Pagliuca, Bain Capital)

A year ago, owners Grousbeck and Pagliuca had to shroud themselves in Stephen Feinberg-like secrecy whenever they ventured outside the VIP boxes, as the Celtics finished last in their basketball division. This year, Grousbeck and Pagliuca are the toast of the town, as their highly improved team won their first championship in 22 years.

Formula One (CVC Capital Partners)

CVC Capital Partners is the largest shareholder in Formula One, the rights holder to the world's leading motor racing championship. The group's next-largest shareholding is the 16.8 percent held by bankrupt bank Lehman Brothers. If and when the Lehman stake comes up for sale, CVC may be in pole position to buy it.

French Open (Blue Capital)

kentucky-based Blue Capital has been building its sports platform since 2006. Through a series of acquisitions it has built up a stable of events and is agent to almost 200 athletes. When it acquired three divisions of sports marketing firm SFX, it took control of a number of tennis events including The French Open, which has been won for the last four years by Rafael Nadal (above left).

Harlem Globetrotters (Shamrock Holdings)

Roy Disney's private equity firm bought the venerable exhibition basketball team back in 2005. The franchise has been around since the 1920s and since then the Globetrotters have played in 119 countries in front of over 128 million fans. The team counts Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II among its eight honorary members.

Liverpool FC (Tom Hicks)

Along with one-time friend George Gillett, Hicks bought Liverpool, one of the English Premier League's“Big Four” football clubs, in early 2007. Since then the club's boardroom has allegedly been riven by disagreements, with Hicks and Gillett reportedly not speaking to each other and mooted sale talks with Dubai International Capital on ice.

Manchester City FC (Abu Dhabi United Group)

Sheikh Mansour's private equity group stunned observers when it bought English football club Manchester City in September. The club immediately went on a spending spree, breaking transfer records to secure Brazilian star Robinho (above) for £32.5 million. In its first match under ADUG's ownership, City lost 3-1 to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's Chelsea.

Paris Saint Germain FC (Colony Capital, Butler Capital, Morgan Stanley)

The French football club was heralded by Tom Barrack, head of Colony Capital, as about to “dominate the world” back in 2006. Since then the club has been dogged by rioting fans off the pitch and abysmal performances on it. Last season it finished 16th, narrowly avoiding relegation from the country's top league.

Petty Enterprises (Boston Ventures)

Boston is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), but that did not deter Boston Ventures from taking a controlling stake in racing legend Richard Petty's stock car team earlier this year. The team's top drivers, kyle Petty and Chad McCumbree, finished 42nd and 58th in the championship this year.

Texas Rangers (Tom Hicks … again)

Hicks will forever be remembered as the man who paid a quarter of a billion dollars to Alex Rodriguez (left) to lead the Rangers into an extended period of expensive mediocrity. The $252 million contract, eventually paid in part by the New York Yankees, still ranks as the largest-ever in baseball history.

Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs (Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan)

The OTPP owns Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, the holding company which operates both the NBA Raptors basketball team and the NHL Maple Leafs ice hockey team. The on the field play has been less than stellar – the Maple Leafs have not won a championship in more than three decades, while the Raptors have never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.