Because the daughter of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is the driving force behind the team’s new $1 billion headquarters and practice facility in Frisco—and one of the most successful women executives in all of professional sports. After opening AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the Jones family found themselves facing yet another major construction project. Under Charlotte Jones Anderson’s steady hand, the groundbreaking sports complex in Frisco was designed, developed, and opened on a tight, three-year timeline.
Some know Anderson as Jerry’s only daughter and others as a top exec with the Cowboys, but construction workers at The Star in Frisco just call her “the one who makes the decisions.” The complex is a gargantuan multi-use development that’s home to the Cowboys’ headquarters and a 12,000-seat arena called The Ford Center. Also in the works is a 300-room Omni Hotel, 200,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and a sports medicine facility operated by Baylor Scott & White Health. As each of these projects comes to life, Anderson is right there, ensuring that the end result measures up to the Jones family’s famously high standards. There’s no decision too large or too small; she helped craft the layout of the entire 91-acre campus, and she also personally inspected the epoxy coating on the floors.
After being heavily involved in the planning of AT&T Stadium, Anderson knows how important it is to pay attention to the details on a project of this size. But she also knows how to dream big. Back in 1997, she had a plan to turn the halftime show of the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game into a national media event and fundraiser. The only problem was she needed $15 million worth of extra airtime to make it happen. Undeterred, Anderson pitched the idea to top NBC execs until she sold them on the vision. The Thanksgiving halftime show has since featured big-name artists like Luke Bryan and Pitbull and raised millions of dollars for the Salvation Army.
She’s the first woman to serve on the Salvation Army’s national advisory board and the first to helm a major professional sports league foundation. (She was named chairman of the NFL Foundation in 2012.) Once AT&T stadium was up and running, Anderson used her event planning acumen to ensure that it would stay busy even when America’s Team wasn’t on the field. And as chief brand officer, she excels at finding ways to make the Cowboys not just an NFL team, but a fixture in American culture.
In Frisco, she’s hoping to build on this legacy by offering a one-of-a-kind experience for Cowboys fans and local athletes. The Star, which opened in late August, marks the first partnership between an NFL team and a city and school district. As part of the joint venture, Frisco high school students will get to play on the center’s indoor field. Anderson hopes the unique relationship between students and pros will help groom the next generation of Texas athletes.
She jokes that she might get bored once all of the pieces are in place at The Star. It may be 10 years before the site is fully developed. But until then, she’ll be working to help North Texas earn its place as the football capital of the world—and promote the team and the game she loves.