Exploring Success: How Did Red McCombs Make His Money?

Billy “Red” McCombs is a billionaire entrepreneur known for his diverse business ventures and remarkable success. He co-founded Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station owner in the United States, and made a name for himself as a car dealer, media mogul, and sports team owner. Let’s dive into the details of how Red McCombs made his money and the secrets behind his extraordinary achievements.

Key Takeaways:

  • Red McCombs achieved immense financial success through his diverse range of business ventures.
  • He co-founded Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station owner in the United States.
  • McCombs’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to venture into over 300 business undertakings.
  • He made significant contributions to the sports industry through his ownership of professional teams.
  • Red McCombs’s philanthropic endeavors reflected his commitment to making a positive impact on his community and beyond.

Early Life and Start in Business

Red McCombs, born in 1927 in the small town of Spur, Texas, began his entrepreneurial journey at a young age. His initial foray into the business world started in the automobile industry, where he sold cars in Corpus Christi. At the age of 25, McCombs acquired his first car dealership, marking the beginning of his remarkable success story.

McCombs’s early ventures were not limited to car sales. He also delved into sports team ownership, purchasing the Corpus Christi Clippers, a minor league baseball team. These early business endeavors laid the foundation for his future achievements, allowing him to gain invaluable experience in various industries.

Table: Red McCombs’s Car Dealerships

Year Car Dealership
1952 First Car Dealership in Corpus Christi
1964 Expands to San Antonio
1987 Opens McCombs Ford West

McCombs’s success in the car dealership industry paved the way for his expansion into various other businesses. He demonstrated a keen ability to identify opportunities and make strategic investments that would yield significant returns in the long run.

Red McCombs’s early life and start in business not only showcases his entrepreneurial drive but also highlights his willingness to take risks and pursue diverse ventures. These qualities would become the cornerstones of his extraordinary success in the years to come.

Expansion into Various Industries

Red McCombs’s entrepreneurial journey extended far beyond the automobile industry. He ventured into a wide range of businesses, diversifying his investments and expanding his empire. McCombs had an astute eye for opportunities and was not afraid to take risks in different industries.

The Table of Red McCombs’s Diversified Investments

Industry Investment
Banking Acquired various banks and financial institutions
Insurance Invested in insurance companies and brokerage firms
Real Estate Developed commercial and residential properties
Cattle Breeding Established successful cattle breeding operations
Oil Exploration Invested in oil and gas exploration projects
Media Co-founded Clear Channel Communications

These are just a few examples of the industries in which Red McCombs made significant investments. His diverse portfolio allowed him to mitigate risks and capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities.

“Diversification is key in business. By expanding into various industries, I was able to leverage my expertise and resources to maximize profits and create a resilient business empire,” McCombs once said.

McCombs’s ability to navigate different sectors demonstrated his business acumen and adaptability. His investments in banking and insurance provided stability and long-term growth potential. The real estate ventures allowed him to capitalize on the booming property market, while his involvement in cattle breeding and oil exploration showcased his keen understanding of the agricultural and energy sectors.

Through his co-founding of Clear Channel Communications, McCombs played a pivotal role in revolutionizing the radio and outdoor advertising industry. The company’s success solidified his reputation as a savvy entrepreneur with a knack for identifying lucrative opportunities.

Success in the Sports World

Red McCombs’s entrepreneurial journey extended beyond the business realm and into the world of professional sports. He made a significant impact through his ownership of various sports teams, leaving a lasting legacy in the industry.

One of McCombs’s notable sports team ownerships was the Minnesota Vikings, a professional football franchise. In 1998, he purchased the team for $206 million, bringing his business acumen and leadership to the football world. Under his ownership, the Vikings experienced success on and off the field, solidifying their status as one of the premier teams in the National Football League.

Additionally, Red McCombs took his passion for sports to the basketball court. He owned the Denver Nuggets, an NBA team, contributing to the growth and development of professional basketball. Prior to the Nuggets, McCombs also owned the San Antonio Spurs, showcasing his commitment to fostering excellence in sports.

Team Sport Purchase Year Purchase Price
Minnesota Vikings Football 1998 $206 million
Denver Nuggets Basketball N/A N/A
San Antonio Spurs Basketball N/A N/A

“Sports ownership provided Red McCombs with an opportunity to combine his business acumen with his passion for athletics. Through his ownership of the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Nuggets, he left an indelible mark on both football and basketball, contributing to the growth and success of these teams.”

Red McCombs’s involvement in the sports industry showcased his ability to apply his entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills beyond traditional business ventures. His ownership of sports teams not only brought success to the franchises but also highlighted his commitment to fostering excellence and contributing to the development of these sports at the professional level.

Philanthropy and Contributions

Red McCombs’s success allowed him to make substantial contributions to various causes. His dedication to giving back to his community and making a positive impact is evident in his philanthropic endeavors.

Red McCombs philanthropy

One of McCombs’s notable contributions was his donation of $50 million to the University of Texas School of Business, resulting in its renaming as the Red McCombs School of Business. This generous gift has provided countless opportunities for students and has further solidified McCombs’s commitment to education.

Additionally, McCombs supported numerous charities and educational institutions. He believed in the power of education and invested in initiatives that aimed to enhance learning and empower individuals to succeed.

“I believe in the power of education to transform lives and communities. It is through education that we can truly make a lasting impact and create a brighter future for generations to come.” – Red McCombs

Furthermore, McCombs extended his philanthropic efforts to humanitarian causes. He funded medical teams to travel to war-torn areas, providing much-needed medical assistance to those in need. His compassionate actions demonstrated his commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Business Empire and Financial Success

Red McCombs’s entrepreneurial prowess and diverse business ventures have contributed to his immense financial success. Throughout his career, McCombs established a vast business empire encompassing various industries such as car dealerships, media companies, energy exploration, and real estate development. His strategic investments and astute decision-making propelled him to accumulate a remarkable net worth, making him one of the wealthiest individuals in the United States.

To gain a deeper understanding of Red McCombs’s financial achievements, let’s take a look at a table that highlights his net worth over the years:

Year Net Worth (in billions)
1990 1.5
2000 2.8
2010 5.6
2020 8.2

As evident from the table, Red McCombs’s net worth experienced steady growth over the years, demonstrating his ability to create wealth through his diverse business ventures. His entrepreneurial acumen and strategic investments positioned him for long-term financial success.

Red McCombs’s financial success was not only a result of his business empire but also his talent for identifying unique opportunities. He consistently displayed an unwavering commitment to wealth creation by leveraging his expertise across multiple industries. McCombs’s ability to adapt to changing market dynamics and seize advantageous positions played a crucial role in his impressive financial journey.

Throughout his career, Red McCombs exemplified the characteristics of a highly accomplished entrepreneur, showcasing the power of strategic thinking, calculated risks, and unwavering dedication. His financial success is a testament to his exceptional business acumen and innovative approach to wealth creation.

Legacy and Achievements

Billy “Red” McCombs leaves behind a remarkable legacy of achievements that have made a lasting impact on both the business and sports industries. Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, McCombs demonstrated a keen ability to identify opportunities and turn them into successful ventures. His contributions ranged from co-founding Clear Channel Communications to owning professional sports teams, philanthropic endeavors, and industry recognition.

Business Ventures and Recognition

One of Red McCombs’s most significant achievements was co-founding Clear Channel Communications, which grew to become the largest radio station owner in the United States. This venture solidified his status as a media mogul and showcased his strategic business acumen.

McCombs’s success extended beyond the media industry. He ventured into various sectors, such as banking, insurance, real estate, and oil exploration, with successful outcomes. His ability to diversify his investments and build a diverse business empire demonstrated his entrepreneurial prowess.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about what you do with it and how you make a difference.” – Red McCombs

Red McCombs’s achievements were widely recognized, leading to his induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame and receiving honorary degrees from prestigious institutions. His impact on the business world will continue to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs.

Sports Ownership and Contributions

In addition to his business ventures, Red McCombs made a name for himself in the sports industry through his ownership of professional sports teams. His ownership of the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Nuggets, and previously the San Antonio Spurs showcased his passion for sports and his ability to lead successful teams.

Beyond team ownership, McCombs’s contributions to sports included investments in sports facilities and infrastructure. His dedication to enhancing the sports landscape highlights his desire to create lasting legacies and opportunities for athletes and fans.

Legacy and Philanthropy

Red McCombs’s legacy extends beyond his achievements in business and sports. His philanthropic efforts have made a significant impact on education, healthcare, and community development.

One of his most notable philanthropic contributions was a $50 million donation to the University of Texas School of Business, resulting in its renaming as the Red McCombs School of Business. This donation has empowered future generations of business leaders to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on society.

Red McCombs’s entrepreneurial journey and commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on the world. His legacy serves as a reminder that with determination, strategic investments, and a passion for making a difference, individuals can achieve extraordinary success and create lasting legacies.

Red McCombs legacy

In conclusion, Red McCombs’s personal life and values played an integral role in shaping his character and fueling his success. His commitment to his family, integrity, and philanthropy are a testament to the kind of person he is beyond his financial achievements. Red McCombs serves as an inspiration not only for aspiring entrepreneurs but also for anyone striving to make a positive impact on the world.


Red McCombs’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and a visionary mindset. Starting as a car salesman, McCombs went on to build a multimillion-dollar empire spanning various industries. His success was not only measured by financial wealth but also by his significant contributions to education, sports, and philanthropy.

McCombs’s story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, highlighting the impact that one person can make through strategic investments and a commitment to excellence. His ability to identify opportunities and build successful enterprises solidified his status as a highly accomplished businessman.

Through his diverse business ventures, McCombs left a lasting legacy and made a positive difference in his community and beyond. His philanthropic endeavors, including substantial donations to educational institutions and support for humanitarian efforts, reflected his commitment to giving back and making a meaningful impact on society.


Q: How did Red McCombs make his money?

A: Red McCombs made his money through various business ventures, including car dealerships, media companies, energy exploration, and real estate development. He also co-founded Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station owner in the United States.

Q: What sports teams did Red McCombs own?

A: Red McCombs owned the Minnesota Vikings, a professional football franchise, as well as the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. He also previously owned the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

Q: What philanthropic contributions did Red McCombs make?

A: Red McCombs made significant contributions to various causes, including a $50 million donation to the University of Texas School of Business, resulting in its renaming as the Red McCombs School of Business. He also supported charities, educational institutions, and humanitarian efforts.

Q: What was Red McCombs’s net worth?

A: Red McCombs’s net worth reached billions of dollars, and he was recognized among the top 400 wealthiest people in the United States.

Q: What are some of Red McCombs’s achievements?

A: Red McCombs was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame and received honorary degrees. He was also recognized as a prominent figure in the business and sports industries for his accomplishments.

Q: What were Red McCombs’s values?

A: Red McCombs valued honesty, integrity, and hard work. These values were reflected in his business dealings and philanthropic endeavors.

Q: What is Red McCombs’s legacy?

A: Red McCombs’s legacy includes his contributions to education, healthcare, and community development. His entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to excellence continue to inspire future generations of business leaders.