SBD/Issue 129/Franchises

Cowboys Likely To Play First Game At New Stadium In Week 2

Jones Believes New Stadium
Could Debut In Prime Time
The Cowboys' debut at their new $1.1B stadium in Arlington "will probably come in the second week of the NFL season against one of their NFC East rivals," according to Archer & Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Cowboys Exec VP & COO Stephen Jones "believes the team's home opener in the new stadium could come in prime time in the second week." Jones: "We'll probably have a chance there that we may have a national game since it will be the first game in the stadium and not being able to play in it the first weekend." Archer & Horn note the scheduling of Cowboys preseason and regular-season games "has been more difficult this year because of the proximity" of the new Cowboys stadium to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Cowboys will use the Rangers' parking lots for games, and Jones said, "It's a challenge. ... It's something that's going to have to be worked around" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/24). In Ft. Worth, Charean Williams notes the Rangers play at home the "first three weekends of the NFL regular season," so the Cowboys are "expected to begin the season on the road, with their regular-season debut in their new Arlington stadium on Sept. 20," possibly with NBC's "Sunday Night Football." The NFL and the Cowboys are "working with the Rangers and [MLB] to accommodate both teams" on September 20, when the Rangers are scheduled for a 2:00pm CT start. Rangers Exec VP/Communications John Blake: "We've known all along there was a possible conflict. We're not going to conflict with them head-to-head." Meanwhile, Williams notes CBS on Thanksgiving Day will air Raiders-Cowboys, which "continues a long tradition for Dallas." Jones said that the Cowboys "will fight to keep their Thanksgiving tradition beyond" the '09 season. Jones: "It's very important to us, and not from a competitive standpoint. All the facts have been put out on the table that it's not a competitive advantage" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/24).

Cowboys Reportedly Had AT&T Lined Up For
Stadium's Naming Rights, But Deal Put On Hold
STILL NAMELESS: The AP's Barry Wilner noted the Cowboys last year "reportedly had AT&T lined up for naming rights" for the new stadium, but that deal "has been put on hold." Jones said that "many companies are wary of spending millions of dollars for naming rights" in the current economy. Jones: "There are some factors when you're opening a new building in this economy. ... Obviously there is some sensitivity out there. I don't know if that holds for every company" (AP, 3/23). The MORNING NEWS' Archer & Horn note it is "not clear whether the stadium will have a name for the Cowboys' first game." Jones: "I wouldn't want to speculate. I'm not very good at that, looking into the future" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/24). SI.com's Peter King wrote the "word in the lobby" Sunday night at the NFL owners meetings in Dana Point, California, was the Cowboys "lost a $25[M]-a-year naming-rights deal for their new stadium when AT&T dropped out of the bidding." King: "No name on a stadium is worth that much, but this place is going to be fairly phenomenal, with its 180-foot-wide [HD] TV/scoreboard" (SI.com, 3/23).

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