Jerry Jones will be forever linked to the game of football, but where Jones has really excelled is in the football business. Jones played college football at Arkansas where he was teammates with Jimmy Johnson, but found his real talent was in the boardroom.
Even while playing football, Jones found himself drawn to the business side of the sport. After making money in the oil business, one of Jones smartest investments turned out to be the Dallas Cowboys. Jones leveraged himself to buy the Cowboys in 1989 when the team was losing money.
The Cowboys are a big reason Jones’ net worth nearly doubled in the last five years. According to Forbes, Jones was worth $2.7 billion in 2012, and jumped up to his current net worth of $5.2 billion.
Learn more about the business empire Jones has built.
1. Jones Has a Net Worth of $5.2 Billion
According to Forbes, Jones has a net worth of $5.2 billion. Jones started building his wealth through the oil business. According to Mental Floss, Jones struck oil in his first 13 wells during the 1970’s. Jones did have a bit of help with the backing of his father, Pat Jones. His father sold Modern Security Life Insurance Company for millions.
Jones has been known as one of the best salesman in sports, a trait he learned from his father’s life insurance tutorials. Part of the reason he has built the Cowboys into what the franchise has become is his ability to generate partnerships with sponsors. Jones knows the value of these advertisers as D Magazine details Jones visiting a Ford assembly line to speak with employees.
“These partnership interests are something I picture like I own them as well,” Jones told D Magazine. “And once we sign those [contracts], then I tell them I will fly across the country to speak with their customers. I just treat ’em like I own ’em.”
2. Jones Purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $150 Million & the Cowboys Are Now Worth $4.2 Billion
The Cowboys have become one of the most recognizable sports franchises in the world. It was not always that way, but Jones has elevated the Cowboys brand since taking over nearly 30 years ago. According to Forbes, Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989 for $150 million. While NFL franchises had value, the NFL’s popularity has skyrocketed over this time period.
According to Forbes, the Cowboys had $190 million in player expenses, but bring in $700 million in revenue. This was $177 million more than any other NFL team. In 2016, the Cowboys became the most valuable sports franchise in the world.
3. When He Took Over the Franchise, Jones Estimates the Cowboys Were Losing $1 Million a Month
In an interview on ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s podcast, Jones detailed the risk he took on when he purchased the Cowboys. Jones noted the Cowboys were losing $100,000 a day which added up to about $1 million a month. He was also paying 11 percent interest on a loan he took out to help purchase the team.
Jones detailed his early days as the Cowboys owner to Shefter (via Dallas News).
The interest alone on the investment in the club was another X-million dollars. Eleven percent interest on the amount that I borrowed. It was a bill of about almost $100,000 a day. Now that was going out the door. So when you got up in the morning, crickets get you up or whatever, whether you got up or not that was going out the door. That’ll cause you to get imaginative. That’ll cause you to think of some things that maybe hadn’t been thought of before.
I actually bought 13 percent of the Dallas Cowboys from the federal government [that] had been foreclosed on. And there was another 40 percent headed to the courthouse to be foreclosed on when I bought the team. While it was a challenge, it certainly was an opportunity. But time was of the essence. I really had to get in, get on my horse and get it rolling.
4. Jones Does Not Own AT&T Stadium, But It Was His Idea
While many fans believe Jones owns AT&T Stadium, it is owned by Arlington. According to the Star-Telegram, Jones pays $2 million in rent each year. He also pays $500,000 a year for the city’s portion of the AT&T naming rights. In almost all cases, the city owns stadiums and arenas.
Jones may not own the stadium, but it was his vision to build one of the most luxurious stadiums in the world. Jones was first motivated by his first visit to the Astrodome decades ago to build a unique stadium. He got the idea for the massive screen that stretches from one 20 yard line to the other from a Celene Dion show in Las Vegas.
Jones detailed his high ambitions for the stadium to D Magazine as he wants it to “become more familiar than the White House.”
“It [AT&t Stadium] was designed for Al Michaels and John Madden to describe this as a ‘palace for football’ to the millions who are watching,” Jones told D Magazine.
5. In Addition to the Cowboys, Jones Has Made Shrewd Real Estate Investments
The Cowboys new practice facility, The Star, serves as the centerpiece of the mixed-used space in Frisco. According to The Dallas Morning News, the development will also include a 12,000 seat venue, office buildings, high-rise residential tower, restaurants and shopping. Jones partnered with legendary Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach on the Frisco project.
Jones has real estate holdings all over Texas. “Some people think the real estate may be worth more than the franchise some day,” Jones told D Magazine.