Troy Aikman reaps millions by selling Wingstop shares on 1st day of trading

June 13, 2015, 10:20 AM

— -- Love of wings has turned into millions of dollars for Troy Aikman.

The former Dallas Cowboys great confirmed Friday night that he cashed out an undisclosed stake of shares he owned in Dallas-based Wingstop, which saw its share price rise 61 percent on its first day of trading Friday.

Aikman wouldn't disclose his total ownership in the company but did say it's worth more than what he made in his first four years in the NFL. Aikman made about $6 million in those first four years, as he didn't see the final two years of his rookie contract after signing a bigger deal in 1992. That deal was done after the Cowboys won the first of three Super Bowls in four years.

In 2003, three years after he retired, Aikman did an endorsement deal with Wingstop when it had just 133 restaurants.

"At the time, it was a natural fit," Aikman said. "They had a Wingstop right across from our Valley Ranch training facility, and I used to meet teammates there on Thursday night."

Aikman became more than just the face of the brand in 2011, shortly after the company was purchased by private equity firm Roark Capital, when he was named to the board of directors.

During Aikman's time with the company, the number of locations has grown to more than 750, and CEO Charlie Morrison told CNBC on Friday that the plan is to grow to 2,500 in the U.S. alone.

Shares of the company were priced at $19 on Friday morning and soared to $30.50 by the time the market closed.

"It has been a good run," said Aikman, who is restricted from selling an undisclosed amount of shares until an already agreed upon time to conform to rules put forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Aside from his broadcasting career as the lead NFL analyst for Fox Sports, Aikman has done relatively well as a businessman. In 2000, his final year in the NFL, he sold his 25 percent stake in Fort Worth-based Troy Aikman Automall, which sold Chevy, Chrysler and Jeep brands.