“America’s Team?” More Like America’s Most Valuable Team
Photo Courtesy of Vernon Bryan / Staff Photographer of Dallas Morning News
For the sixth year in a row, the Dallas Cowboys have topped Forbes’ Most Valuable Sports Teams list for 2021. At $6.92 billion, the Cowboys exceeded their 2020 net worth by almost half a billion dollars. Many compare the franchise to Fortune 500 companies due to owner Jerry Jones’s business prowess, including creating partnerships outside those of the NFL, as well as opting out of NFL merchandise deals in order to maximize profit.
Jerry Jones’s story with the Dallas Cowboys began in 1989 when he bought the team for $150 million. Since then, Jones has only seen a return on his investment. According to his Pro Football Hall of Fame biography, Jones “became the first owner in NFL history to lead his team to three Super Bowl titles in his first seven years of ownership.” It’s no surprise that Jones has no plans on selling the team any time soon. During an interview with 105.3 The Fan, Jones spoke of how much the Cowboys mean to him: “I’ve sold a lot of things in my time but everybody has heard me say that this is not — these are my heart, this is my legs. This is what we’re about.”
Jones’s continued investments in the Cowboys only continues to pay off — especially off the field. The Star, located in Frisco, Texas, is a 91-acre campus containing the Cowboys’ Headquarters and practice facility (opened in 2016). The Star District surrounding HQ is filled with retail, restaurants, and hotels, drawing crowds from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Another factor contributing to the Cowboys’ wealth are their broadcast rights. Sundays are constantly filled with a Cowboys game, with TV networks paying over $250 million to be able to broadcast games. AT&T Stadium, located in Arlington, Texas, replaced the Cowboys Stadium in 2009. The stadium boasts an 80,000 seat capacity, bringing in $100 million for the Cowboys. No matter what the previous season’s win record may have been, an empty stadium is never in sight for the Cowboys. The loyalty of Dallas Cowboys fans is definitely a factor in the wealth Jerry Jones has accumulated for the Cowboys.
On the field, the Cowboys have seen less success. With no playoff appearances in the last two seasons and no championship win since 1995, the Cowboys have been pushing to match their on-field success to that off-field. With players like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb, things are looking up for Dallas, even with their pricey paychecks: Dak Prescott signed a four-year deal worth $160 million while Ezekiel Elliot’s six-year deal is worth $90 million, and these are only two of their key offensive players. After Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury last year, the Cowboys were desperate for his return. Cowboys fans everywhere celebrated a moral victory after they ended their first regular season game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with only a field goal leading to a loss in the last seven seconds.
No matter their success on the field, the Dallas Cowboys will undoubtedly be financial superstars off the field for years to come. With the ability to increase their worth by almost half a billion dollars in the midst of a pandemic, the future can only brighten for the Cowboys’ pockets. As the season continues, we’ll see how their on-field success measures up.