By now you've probably seen that Forbes has named the Cowboys the most valuable franchise in the NFL. They peg their worth at $1.65 billion, a princely sum for a team that hasn't won a playoff game since before Monica Lewinsky entered the American lexicon but, as you doubtlessly know, these valuations aren't based on football success. After all, the Redskins are the second most valuable franchise.
Now Forbes will tell you that they came up with that number because of the Cowboys' net of debt service versus operating costs, leases of suites and a bunch of other stuff that made your eyes glaze over during economics class. We're not buying it, though. There are tangible ways of getting to $1.65 billion that don't take a bunch of CPAs hunched over their adding machines. Let's take a look, shall we?
JerryWorld ($750 Million) - Everyone knows the value of investing in real estate, especially when it comes with a state-of-the-art football stadium/shopping mall/wine bar already waiting for you in turnkey condition. For now, though, let's just focus on the $60 pizzas. Do you realize what kind of profit margin you're looking at on a $60 pizza? You'll clear about $55 every time you send one up, which really adds up to some serious change when all is said and done. That's positive cashflow, my friend, and no good business can survive without it.
Access to Alien Technologies ($255 million) - Martellus Bennett may prove to be a threat in the passing game, but his value to a potential investor comes from a very different place. The man is from another planet, or so he says, and has access to the kinds of technological advances that will help shape the 21st Century. He hasn't been able to harness those technologies to perform cold fusion or cure the common cold, but he might and wouldn't you want to be the one to benefit when he does?
Crossover Appeal Via Tony Romo's Love Life ($175 million) - There are, believe it or not, people in this country that don't give a whit about the Cowboys. A goodly number of those people instead spend their time with their nose buried in the latest issue of Us or People where they read about a busty blonde starlets love affair with someone named Tony Romo. Curious to see what the fuss is about they'll flip on the next Cowboys game which expands the audience and the revenue base all at once.
Jerry Jones' Secret to Eternal Youth ($137 million) - Admittedly this is a questionable inclusion, but no savvy investor would buy the Cowboys without also getting the inside scoop on what keeps Double J looking eerily like he did when he bought the team 20 years ago. It could be cutting edge plastic surgery, some kind of a topical lotion made of goat placenta or some of Bennett's alien know-how, but it's valuable stuff.
The Cheerleaders ($125 million) - There are all kinds of reality show, calender and public appearance opportunities available for the best-known pep squad in the league, but should times get tough a creative owner could find new ways to make money off the ladies. You can probably figure out some of them for yourself, but JerryWorld seems like the kind of place where the right amount of money can buy you anything your heart desires.
Tony Romo's Smile ($86 million) - Remember how all those people without any interest in football are tuning in because Romo pops up in the celebrity rags? You've got to keep them coming back for more.
Lottery Tickets ($75 million) - The tie-in between the NFL and state lotteries may seem like a tawdry step, but it's also a profitable one. Let's face it, people aren't getting any smarter or any more willing to pass up chances to get rich quick without doing any work so this figures to be a robust source of income for years to come.
History of the Franchise ($26 million) - Someday, some desperate network may give Emmitt Smith another chance as a broadcaster, which means that every time he makes a point in mangled English there will be a chance to stand up and say, "He's a Cowboy!"
Benefits of Ignoring the Draft ($20 million) - A lot of teams wind up laying out a ton of money in escalators built into rookie contracts, something the Cowboys avoid by trading picks for wide receivers in the middle of the season and picking players of such frail constitutions that there isn't a chance they'll play enough to earn any incentives.
Tax Benefits of Punts Hitting Videoboard ($999,985) - Depreciation is your friend when it comes to tax time, and the decision to leave JerryWorld's videoboard in the firing line of punters will pay off when it comes time to take some write offs.
Sales of "Ours Is Bigger" T-Shirts ($15) - In any successful business, there will be areas that are underperforming.
And there's your $1.65 billion of value, a number that will keep growing as the Cowboys diversify into more fields and could skyrocket if Bennett ever perfects that plasma ray that he's been working on.