From Cowboys QB To Real Estate Mogul

From Cowboys QB To Real Estate Mogul

Roger Staubach: From Cowboys QB To Real Estate Mogul

Kurt Badenhausen ,  


I cover sports business with rare dip in education & local economies  

Today’s NFL bears little resemblance to its former self from the 1960s. The first Super Bowl didn’t sell out the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Tickets for the game topped out at $12 and 30-second Super Bowl spots costs advertisers $40,000. Average salaries crept up during the decade fueled in part by the creation of the AFL, but still only averaged $25,000 per year in the late 1960s. Baseball was still America’s Pastime.

Flash forward to today where 2014 Super Bowl tickets cost $3,400 and ad spots set companies back $4 million. Average salaries are up to $2 million and a Super Bowl win practically ensures a $100 million contract for the winning quarterback. There is no mistaking that Americans worship at the altar of the NFL today.

With that in mind, maybe it is easier to understand the career path of Roger Staubach. He won the Heisman Trophy at Navy in 1963 and led his team to an upset of Notre Dame and the No. 2 ranking in the country. He volunteered for a tour of duty the following year after graduation. Staubach joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1969 as a 27-year-old rookie with a salary of $25,000. He would earn two Super Bowl wins in five appearances, an NFL MVP and six Pro Bowl selections during the 1970s. But Staubach didn’t let the fame go to his head.

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Staubach worked as a real estate broker during offseasons in the 1970s while playing for the Cowboys. Not exactly something you’d see from Tony Romotoday. “I was 27 and we had three children,” says Staubach. “If I got hurt, I knew I had a family to provide for, and it was not crazy money in the NFL then.”

Staubach worked under the tutelage of Henry S. Miller, whose eponymous firm was founded in 1914 and is one of the largest independent commercial real estate firms in Texas. “He was a great man and my mentor,” says Staubach.

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Staubach went out on his own and started the Staubach Company in 1977. When he retired in 1979, he put all of his energy into building the company in Texas. He took on partners and expanded nationally. “Football teaches you hard work,” says Staubach. “It takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to have spectacular results in both business and football.”

Staubach developed a strong client base through the 1990s and 2000s, helping tenants find office, retail and industrial space. He survived the booms and busts of the Texas economy. The firm had 50 offices in North America and 1,100 employees by 2008, but clients eventually wanted more services and to venture outside the U.S. In order to service their needs, Staubach found a willing partner in Chicago-based real estate firm Jones Lang Lasalle. JLL bought Staubach Co. in 2008 for a multi-year payout that eventually totaled $640 million.

It was a big payday for Roger, but he spread the wealth. Roger doled out equity to employees as he built the business and at the time of the sale, he owned only 12% of the company. He put half of his JLL windfall into a trust for his children. Last year was the final payout on the JLL sale and also included a $36.9 million earn-out for the Staubach Co. reaching certain targets. Staubach currently serves as executive chairman of JLL and sits on the board. He still goes to work every day and is active with customers. Forbes estimates he made $12 million last year, including the roughly $4 million directed toward a trust for his children. “I didn’t make enough money in my sport to retire,” says the former QB. Staubach employees are happy for that. Roger made them a bundle in his second career.

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Dated: December 27th 2016
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