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Telling Fortunes

No. 20: Jerry Jones

Age: 70Home: DallasNet Worth: $3 billion

In 1989 Jerry Jones showed up in Dallas as a born salesman from Arkansas who had donned bow ties as a kid to greet customers at his dad’s grocery stores, sold shoes out of his car as a Razorback football player in the early sixties, and made enough money in oil and gas in the seventies that he was able to buy the Dallas Cowboys for around $150 million. But he didn’t get Forbes-list rich until he ran an end-around on the NFL’s exclusive sponsorship agreements, inking deals between the Cowboys’ Texas Stadium and advertisers like Nike and Pepsi. Today the Cowboys play in a $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington that is arguably the premier sports facility in the United States, and with their estimated $500 million stadium-naming agreement with AT&T, they are the highest-valued NFL franchise, at $2.3 billion. Too bad the team has won exactly one playoff game in the past sixteen seasons.


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