Education: University of Arkansas
How He Acquired the Franchise: Jones purchased the Cowboys for $140 million from H.R. “Bum” Bright in 1989, marking the first time a sports team was purchased for more than $100 million. Per Jones, at the time of purchase, the Cowboys were losing $1 million a month.
Net Worth: $5.6 billion (per Forbes in 2018)
Franchise Valuation: $4.8 billion (per Forbes in 2017)
How He Made His Money: In the early 1970s, Jones started an oil and gas exploration business in Arkansas and reportedly struck gas in the first wells his company drilled. In 1982, he bought oil leases for $15 million and after investing $35 million more in drilling and other costs, the company that sold him those leases bought out him and his partner for $175 million. The Jones family has long been wealthy—his father sold his Modern Security Life Insurance Company for millions.
The Cowboys, however, have been far and away Jones’s greatest investment.
In the Owner’s Words: “In my life, in my career, I’ve had many times when I could be more aggressive because of the financial shape that I was in and times I had to be pretty conservative because of the financial shape I was in,” Jones said to ESPN in 2014. “That’s the art of the deal is to make the adjustments. Now, you would say wouldn't it be better to get ahead of it and not have to make adjustments. The one who can look in that crystal ball, I want to meet, whether it be managing our salary cap or just business in general.”
Political Donations: Jones has been a steady Republican contributor over the years. Most notably, he shelled out $200K to America Leads, a 2016 super PAC that gave out nearly $18 million in support of Chris Christie's presidential bid. Glenstone Limited Partnership, of which Jones is president, donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee. Elsewhere, he’s also contributed thousands to local Texan Republicans, Christie, Rick Perry and George Bush; more than $26K to the RNC in ’08; $10K for John Boehner's speaker campaign in ’14; and $28.5K to McCain's victory fund in ’08.
NFL Committees:Jerry: Hall of Fame Committee (Chairman), NFL Network Committee (Chairman), Media Committee, Health & Safety Advisory Committee, Management Council Executive Committee; Jerry Jr.: Digital Media Committee; Stephen: Competition and Stadium Committee; Charlotte: Conduct Committee.
Next in Line: Stephen Jones is the team’s COO/director of personnel and “Jerry’s right-hand man.” His other children, Charlotte (the executive vice president and chief brand officer) and Jerry Jr. (the executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer), could also be in the mix.