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DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN? COWBOYS INK $5M DEAL WITH AT&T
Published August 2, 1996
Almost one year to the day after announcing a lucrative deal with non-NFL sponsor PepsiCo, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones announced his latest partnership, a three-year, $5M deal with AT&T Corp., according to Josie Karp of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. AT&T will become the official telecom sponsor at Texas Stadium, with rights for advertising tie-ins and promotions. In May, Sprint Corp. signed a three-year telecom marketing deal with the NFL reportedly worth $100M. Jones said he hopes his latest deal brings him and the league "together, though he knows it might not." Jones: "I'm not naive, and whether or not it polarizes negativeness as to the things that I advocate in terms of marketing, I don't know." Jones and the NFL are currently in the midst of legal battle of conflicting corporate sponsorships. The league sued Jones for $300M last September and Jones filed countersuit for $750M last November. Jones said these suits are still in the discovery phase, but both sides have met in an attempt to solve the disputes. Reportedly, little progress has been made and a court date is at least a year away (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/2). Jones said his deal shouldn't bring him in conflict with the NFL since "we have adhered to every NFL guideline." The N.Y. TIMES' notes that because the deal does not include the team name or logo, it does not appear to violate league rules (N.Y. TIMES, 8/2). LEAGUE RESPONSE: NFL Dir of Corporate Communications Chris Widmaier refused comment on specifics of the AT&T-Cowboys deal. Widmaier: "We don't have the details of the agreement yet. It doesn't change the fact that we have a tremendous deal with Sprint" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/2). AT&T'S RANCH: AT&T will provide service at Cowboy facilities including Texas Stadium, the team's Valley Ranch headquarters and its training camp site in Austin. They will provide long distance service and "eventually the local service at the stadium." It also can "advertise and promote AT&T products and services in connection with Texas Stadium." Russell Morgan, President of AT&T Texas, said talks have been going on for three months and AT&T advertising could include Cowboys players. Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith has a deal with AT&T, as they are provider for Emmitt Smith Communications (FT. WORTH STAR TELEGRAM, 8/2). BEAVERTON BOUND: Jones also said yesterday that as part of his marketing deal with Nike, the Cowboys will eventually practice during training camp in OR. The Cowboys train with the Raiders and Raiders Owner Al Davis also has a deal with Nike. The two teams "might meet in Oregon in the future." Jones said Nike Chair Phil Knight wants "to create a training-camp situation for us in the near future that would be build around the Nike celebration up there" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/2).