Jones’ Subsidy Could Reach $1.2 BillionJones’ Subsidy Could Reach $1.2 Billion

Published July 1, 2005

The stadium deal for Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys is weighted heavily on the side of the team.

The Cowboys emphasized during the tax initiative campaign that they were putting up half the money for the stadium–$325 million–but that isn’t quite true. While the city will use the new taxes to retire its side of the debt, Jones will be able to slap his own 10 percent “tax” on tickets and a $3 tax on parking to retire his side. That will raise about $10 million a year, or $300 million over 30 years.

But that’s hardly the limit to Jones’ new revenue streams. He’ll also get 95 percent of the corporate naming rights revenue for the new facility, which could be worth $250 to $350 million. That’s extra money, since the team’s current home, Texas Stadium, has no corporate naming contract. Jones also could earn more than $100 million by selling personal seat licenses (priority rights for buying season tickets), and the NFL is giving the Cowboys a $100 million loan they don’t have to pay back.

So before he even sells a ticket or luxury box or hot dog or beer, Jones will be up about $800 million. Take away the $325 million the team will pay toward the stadium, and he is still ahead $475 million. Since studies have shown NFL teams usually double their profits in new digs, Jones’ estimated annual take of $40 million could balloon into an additional $1.2 billion over the life of the 30-year deal.

— Daniel McGraw