Jerry Jones' big year: Cowboys top Forbes' NFL list again, and that wasn't even his best investment

·NFL columnist
·3 min read

Despite an offseason of mixed headlines for Jerry Jones — some controversial and others unflattering — the Dallas Cowboys owner continues to dominate in the financial arena.

For the 12th straight year, Forbes has calculated the Cowboys as the most valuable franchise in the NFL, pegging the team's worth at a whopping $8 billion. That’s a staggering 23 percent increase over last year, thanks in part to the league’s revenue rebound since the 2020 pandemic season and the recent $4.65 billion sale of the Denver Broncos. That tally is also expected to keep Dallas as the most valuable sports team on the planet — an honor the Cowboys have held since 2016, when the franchise surpassed Spanish soccer titan Real Madrid.

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Interestingly, the Forbes honor and Cowboys’ spike in value doesn’t come close to the investment explosion Jones has experienced this year with Comstock Resources, the Texas energy company that Jones bought and began streamlining in 2018. CNBC reported on July 1 that Jones’ initial $1.1 billion stake had ballooned to $2.6 billion. Comstock’s share price was hovering around $12 the day of that report. Less than two months later, Comstock’s value has boomed alongside the price of natural gas, running to nearly $20 per share this week. That represents a nearly 66 percent increase in value of the $2.6 billion in equity Jones was holding in July. Which means if the initial CNBC report was correct, Jones’ initial $1.1 billion investment in Comstock Resources could be worth as much as $4.3 billion.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to rake in astronomical amounts of money as the value of the team remains the highest in the NFL. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to rake in astronomical amounts of money as the value of the team remains the highest in the NFL. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

That’s an astronomical return since 2018, once again showcasing Jones’ considerable acumen as an aggressive investor. He took the controlling stake in Comstock in 2018, shortly after a massive bust in gas and oil prices put the company on the verge of bankruptcy. His goal was to ramp up energy production and then take the delivery worldwide. But he was also aided by two unpredictable events: a surprise winter freeze in Texas in 2021 that sent natural gas prices skyrocketing; and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which rippled into worldwide natural gas and oil shortages and sent the price of many energy companies soaring.

The rise in value for the Cowboys has been far more organic and long-term, featuring a 3,900 percent increase in value since Jones bought the struggling franchise in 1989 for $150 million. In the 34 years since that purchase, the NFL has become the most bankable sports corporation in America by leaps and bounds. Part of that is due to the league becoming a revenue juggernaut, which has increased franchise values across the board. Another specific part of the financial story for the Cowboys was Jones bullying the NFL with litigation in the 1990s, resulting in Dallas being able to cut extremely lucrative sponsorship deals outside of the league’s revenue-sharing model. Since that revenue win, Jones and Dallas have never looked back, becoming an annual league leader in profits.