How the Dallas Cowboys Built the Most Valuable Franchise in Sports

On the first episode of the Bloomberg Originals series Power Players, Charlotte Jones explains how she turned the family business into a $9 billion global brand. 

(Bloomberg) — It’s almost too on the nose. One powerful, controversial, larger-than-life dad. One sister, two brothers and a globally famous business empire.

But these aren’t the fictional Roys of HBO fame—these are the real-life Joneses. “I actually went to one of the premieres of Succession and I went up to Shiv and I was like, ‘You don’t know me from Adam, but I am you!” says Charlotte Jones, daughter of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “And her response was, ‘Oh Lord, I hope not!’”

In the premiere episode of the Bloomberg Originals series Power Players, Charlotte Jones provides a look inside the $9 billion empire she’s built around “America’s Team” and its famous (or infamous if you’re a Giants or Jets fan) blue star.

While Logan Roy and his brood spent four seasons trying to cling to power, the Jones family arguably has nothing to worry about. That’s largely thanks to Charlotte Jones, whose stewardship of the Dallas Cowboys brand has helped make the franchise the world’s most valuable.

On a few record-hot August days in Dallas, Jones walks viewers through the business case for the Cowboys global brand. The $1.3 billion AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas—with its mega-screen above the stands and mega-logo on the roof—is the most obvious monument to the Jones family’s ambition. It’s where Texas money goes to do business on game days, wining and dining and watching the mostly good Cowboys from a staggering 380 luxury suites—about 100 more than any other stadium.

Jones, her brothers and her dad hold court on the field, reveling in their celebrity and ability to connect to the business elite. “To be able to bring them down with select clients or guests or family, to come take a picture with Jerry close to the action—this doesn’t really happen any place else,” Charlotte Jones says, then conceding “we probably push the line a little bit.”

But her biggest contribution to the business may be The Star—a 91-acre all-Cowboys all-the-time campus in Frisco, Texas. Equal parts team headquarters, practice facility, office park and Cowboys fever dream, it comes complete with Super Bowl trophies and rings on full display in the main lobby. Companies hold offsite meetings with a view of the practice field and Keurig Dr. Pepper—a longtime Cowboys sponsor—has its headquarters here. No other team invites its fans and neighbors to shop, dine and work in such close proximity.

Given the audacity of the still-expanding project, it may surprise some longtime Cowboys observers to learn that the Jones who needed the most convincing about the massive enterprise was Jerry, Charlotte reveals.

But there’s a disconnect. His daughter’s success selling the Cowboys brand has come amid a long drought on the field when it comes to winning it all. The team’s last Super Bowl ring came three decades ago. But hope is running hot at The Star this season that the very best thing for business—a chamiponship—might just be in the cards this season.

The Cowboys started 2-0, thumping both New York NFL franchises, including a season-opening 40-0 drubbing of the NFC East rival Giants. While star injuries and an unexpected loss to the Arizona Cardinals in week three dampened those hopes, the Cowboys remain among the betting favorites to make it to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.

“For us, every season that doesn’t end at the Super Bowl is a failure,” Jones says. “There is no doubt that our ultimate goal and judgement of success is the Lombardi trophy.”

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