What You Can (And Can’t) Buy With Powerball Winnings

How far does $1.5 billion actually go?  

By Joy Diaz & Wells DunbarJanuary 13, 2016 2:02 pm,

You know, the thing about lotto – you gotta be in it to win it.

That was the thinking among the largely level-headed Texas Standard production staff, nine of whom pooled together $180 for Powerball (90 tickets worth) when the jackpot was a measly $900 million last weekend.

Did they win big? After Saturday’s drawing they did get back $4 for their woes. A slightly better rate of return than, say, rolling down your car window and casting those 180 bucks into the wind.

But the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot has spawned a mad money lust in millions of normally sensible, everyday Americans.

René Guzman, staff writer for the San Antonio Express-News, has been on the ground reporting on Powerball fever in Alamo City.

“I’m amazed at not only the level of office pool moneys being spent, but just the sheer enthusiasm going on,” he says. “Despite the very long odds, people, like you said, are very much in it to win it.”

The lottery is about dreaming – let’s say, against all odds, you actually won. San Antonio’s a big sports town, not that the Spurs are for sale, but would your Powerball winnings be enough to pick up San Antonio’s NBA franchise? Depends on how you decide to take your winnings, Guzman says. Annual payout comes to roughly $37.5 million a year for 30 years but the cash option is $697 million.

“Daresay, yes and no,” he says. “The Spurs are valued at a billion dollars, according to Forbes. If you’re looking at the Texas squads, they’re probably on the low-end.”

But America’s Team – the Dallas Cowboys – are out of a lotto player’s league. “Out of a lot of leagues, actually,” Guzman says. “They are worth a staggering $4 billion. I think even if you had that, you’d probably still have to pry that team from Jerry Jones’s cold, dead hands.”

In total bargain bin, Guzman says the Astros come out as the least expensive Texas sports franchise you could buy, provided the sellers would let it go on a payment plan.

If you’re looking for a place to retire, Guzman says the Playboy Mansion is up on the auction block. It’s asking price is a lottery-budget-approved $200 million.

What would you do with your Powerball winnings? Tweet us at Texas Standard, or tell us on the Texas Standard Facebook page.