Where Did Jerry Jones Make His Money?

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Introduction to Jerry Jones’ Wealth

Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is a name synonymous with success in the world of business and sports. His journey to becoming a billionaire is a tale of ambition, savvy investments, and a relentless pursuit of opportunities. In this article, we will delve into the various avenues through which Jerry Jones amassed his fortune, providing a comprehensive understanding of his financial success.

Early Life and Education

Before diving into the specifics of his wealth, it’s important to understand Jerry Jones’ background. Born in Los Angeles, California, in 1942, Jones was raised in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended the University of Arkansas, where he was a co-captain of the 1964 National Championship football team. He graduated with a degree in business in 1965, which laid the foundation for his future business endeavors.

Initial Business Ventures

Jones’ first foray into the business world was not an immediate success. After college, he borrowed money to open a string of Shakey’s Pizza Parlor restaurants in Missouri. Unfortunately, the venture failed, but this setback did not deter him. He learned valuable lessons about business and resilience that would serve him well in the future.

The Oil and Gas Industry Breakthrough

The turning point in Jones’ career came when he ventured into the oil and gas industry. In 1970, he founded Jones Oil and Land Lease, a company that explored and developed natural gas and oil resources. His gamble in this volatile industry paid off handsomely, and he quickly became a millionaire. The success of his oil ventures is often cited as the foundation of his wealth.

Acquisition of the Dallas Cowboys

In 1989, Jerry Jones made a bold move that would forever change his life and the sports world. He purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $140 million, which at the time was a record amount for a sports team. Despite criticism and skepticism, Jones’ business acumen transformed the struggling franchise into one of the most valuable sports teams in the world.

Revolutionizing the Dallas Cowboys’ Brand

Under Jones’ ownership, the Dallas Cowboys experienced a renaissance. He revolutionized the way the team was marketed and managed, turning it into a global brand. His innovative approach to sponsorship, merchandising, and broadcasting deals significantly increased the team’s revenue and value.

Stadium Development and Real Estate Investments

Another significant source of Jones’ wealth is his investment in real estate, particularly the development of AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Opened in 2009, this state-of-the-art facility was a game-changer in terms of design, technology, and revenue generation. It is not just a stadium but a landmark that hosts various events, adding to Jones’ income stream.

Expanding the Portfolio: Other Business Interests

Jerry Jones’ business interests extend beyond oil and football. He has diversified his portfolio to include investments in hospitality, retail, and technology. Each of these ventures contributes to his overall net worth and demonstrates his ability to identify and capitalize on profitable opportunities.

Summary Table of Jerry Jones’ Wealth Sources

Source of WealthDescriptionEstimated Value/Contribution
Oil and GasFounded Jones Oil and Land Lease in 1970Initial millions
Dallas CowboysPurchased in 1989; increased value through marketing and management$5.7 billion (Forbes, 2021)
AT&T StadiumOpened in 2009; hosts various eventsSignificant revenue from events and games
Real EstateInvestments in various propertiesUndisclosed, but substantial
Other BusinessesInvestments in hospitality, retail, and technologyUndisclosed, but contributes to net worth

Leadership and Management Style

Jones is known for his hands-on leadership and management style. He has been involved in every aspect of the Cowboys’ operations, from player negotiations to marketing strategies. This approach has been critical in maximizing the profitability and success of his investments.

Philanthropy and Community Involvement

Apart from his business ventures, Jerry Jones is also known for his philanthropic efforts. He has donated millions to various causes, including education, disaster relief, and the Salvation Army. His community involvement further solidifies his reputation as a businessman with a conscience.

Impact on the NFL and Sports Business

Jerry Jones’ influence extends beyond his own team. He has played a pivotal role in shaping the NFL’s business model, particularly in terms of television contracts and collective bargaining agreements. His impact on the sports business industry is undeniable.

Challenges and Controversies

Despite his success, Jones’ career has not been without challenges and controversies. From disputes with NFL leadership to criticism over team performance, he has faced his share of obstacles. However, his resilience and business savvy have allowed him to navigate these issues effectively.

Legacy and Future Endeavors

As Jerry Jones continues to build his legacy, he remains active in both the sports and business communities. His future endeavors are closely watched, as many anticipate what the next chapter will hold for this influential figure.

FAQs About Jerry Jones’ Wealth

  • How did Jerry Jones first become a millionaire?
    Jerry Jones became a millionaire through his successful investments in the oil and gas industry with his company, Jones Oil and Land Lease.
  • What is the current value of the Dallas Cowboys?
    As of 2021, Forbes estimates the value of the Dallas Cowboys to be around $5.7 billion.
  • Did Jerry Jones make his money solely from the Dallas Cowboys?
    No, while the Dallas Cowboys are a significant part of his wealth, Jones also made money from oil and gas, real estate, and other business ventures.
  • Is Jerry Jones involved in any other sports besides football?
    While football is his primary sports-related business, Jones’ influence and investments may indirectly impact other sports through his stadium and broader business dealings.
  • What is Jerry Jones’ approach to business?
    Jerry Jones is known for his hands-on, aggressive approach to business, often involving himself in all aspects of his ventures to ensure success.


Jerry Jones’ journey to wealth is a multifaceted story of risk-taking, innovation, and strategic business decisions. From his early setbacks to his breakthrough in the oil industry, and his transformative ownership of the Dallas Cowboys, Jones has proven himself to be a shrewd businessman with a Midas touch. His investments in real estate and other industries have further diversified his portfolio, solidifying his status as a billionaire. While his path has been marked by both triumphs and controversies, Jerry Jones’ impact on the sports and business worlds is indelible. As he continues to expand his empire, his legacy as a visionary entrepreneur is sure to endure.

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