SBD/Issue 180/Facilities & Venues

Cowboys Stadium Debut Fairly Smooth Despite Several Glitches

Cowboys Stadium Roof Opens
During George Strait Concert
The debut of Cowboys Stadium with Saturday's George Strait/Reba McEntire concert "went fairly smoothly," though there were "a few glitches," according to Andrea Ahles of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Fans "got their first glimpses of the stadium around 2 p.m. when the parking lots and the west end zone opened," and traffic coming to the stadium "seemed to be manageable as the audience of 60,188 arrived via the 14 parking entrances." However, "not everything in the stadium was working, including the air conditioning on the Hall of Fame level, where the owners club is." Straws also were "nowhere to be found at the concessions, and long lines for food were the norm." Also, the soda machines "didn't work for some of the time, and trash bins were overflowing with beer bottles and half-eaten barbecue sandwiches." Still, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said, "This has been an incredible night. It is everything we dreamed and more. After almost 10 years of working toward this day it has been a joy to see the reaction of everyone coming through the doors. ... The crowd has just been electric and we are all feeding off that energy." Cowboys Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Jerry Jones Jr. added, "It's a culmination of a lot of hard work." Ahles noted Jones before the concert "signed autographs from his owners box on the 50-yard line," while Fox NFL analyst and former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) "hung out with members of the Jones family at their suite" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/7). Cowboys Dir of Corporate Communications Brett Daniels said that the team's staff will be "hard at work this week, looking at stadium operations and how to reduce the long lines and shortages that left some fans frustrated." Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck added that police, fire and other city officials will "meet today to start analyzing traffic and public safety plans, which he said worked smoothly over the weekend." Daniels said that "all of Saturday's glitches should be solved by the next show," a June 20 Jonas Brothers concert (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/8).

HD Scoreboard Was Popular 
Attraction During Concert
STAR ATTRACTION? In Ft. Worth, Eva-Marie Ayala noted "overall visitors seemed happy about" Cowboys Stadium, as "'awesome,' 'impressive' and 'overwhelming' were some of the words fans used" to describe the facility. The most photographed feature of the stadium may have been the HD scoreboard, as concourse traffic "slowed several times as folks stopped to get their perfect shot of the sign and arena." But Ayala noted lines were "long and food ran out in some places." One fan "was in line for 30 minutes waiting for a bottle of water." The fan "noticed about a dozen vendors walking around selling beer only" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/7). In Dallas, Jeff Mosier noted flaws were "exposed" during Saturday's opening. As the night wore on, there were "long lines and shortages at the concession and T-shirt stands," and at one stand, the line was "at least 50 feet long, and some fans said the wait was as long as an hour." On the main concourse level, some fans said that food services lines were "too long and too slow," and by the time Strait began performing, some stands were "out of food." Meanwhile, Mosier noted Texas Gov. Rick Perry "was in the stadium and sending updates via Twitter," while Texas state Sen. Florence Shapiro also was in attendance (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/7).

OPEN SESAME: In Ft. Worth, Preston Jones noted Strait during his performance called for the stadium's roof to be opened, saying, "You know only one person in here can open it. Say it with me, 'Jerry, open the roof!'" The crowd "eagerly took up the chant," and the retractable roof, "which takes 12 minutes to fully open, began to part, revealing a warm slice of night air" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/7).

I WON'T TELL 'EM YOUR NAME: The naming rights to the stadium have yet to be sold, and Businessinsider.com's Dan Colarusso said it is "more a sign that Jerry Jones realizes the value of the Cowboys Stadium" than due to the economy, and Jones is "not giving up those rights." Colarusso: "They're very, very expensive. He's turned this thing into a zillion-dollar enterprise. It may be more a reflection of Jerry Jones being really smart in protecting that Dallas Cowboys name than anything else." But Businessweek Associate Editor Spencer Ante: "Sports fans don't give a hoot whose name's on the stadium. In fact, I think they would prefer if their owners didn't pimp out the names of their stadium" ("CNBC Reports," CNBC, 6/5).

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