SBD/Issue 5/Facilities & Venues

Cowboys Stadium Hailed As Model For Future NFL Stadiums

Cowboys Stadium Will Host Its First
Regular-Season Game Sunday
Cowboys Stadium will host its first regular-season game Sunday when the Cowboys play the Giants, and the venue "raises the bar for future stadiums and provides a model for how the nation's most popular sports league might try to persuade fans to continue flocking to stadiums," according to Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY. There is "no disputing the lavishness of the stadium," as it "personifies the everything-is-bigger-in-Texas idea and the football-crazed culture." There also are "cutting-edge amenities -- starting with the world's largest" HD screen. Meanwhile, the stadium's 120-foot-high glass doors at the end-zone entrances are "retractable -- adding to the open-air ambiance." Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said of the stadium, "This is about making sure that you've got something here that you can't replicate in front of a TV set." Jones added of opening the stadium, "This is on par to a Super Bowl week. You might get a chance to do another Super Bowl, but you'll never get another chance to open a stadium" (USA TODAY, 9/18). Jones believes the stadium, "more than his three Super Bowls and numerous marketing breakthroughs, ... will be his legacy." Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Matt Mosley wrote until people "see it in person, you can't truly appreciate" the team's HD video board. It is a "surreal experience to look up there and see this monstrous scoreboard." There is a "lot of wow factor associated with the stadium, but the scoreboard is the most memorable feature." Meanwhile, Mosley wrote fans "have to love the Party Pass approach," as the team's offering of a $29 Party Pass ticket that allows an additional 20,000 fans to have standing-room only tickets seems to be the "feature that excites Jones the most" (ESPN.com, 9/17).

ASK THE EXPERT: N.Y. TIMES architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff writes Cowboys Stadium's design "mercifully avoids the aw-shucks, small-town look that has become common in many American stadiums over the years." However, the stadium "suffers from its own form of nostalgia: its enormous retractable roof, acres of parking and cavernous interiors are straight out of Eisenhower’s America, with its embrace of car culture and a grandiose, bigger-is-better mentality." The result is a "somewhat crude reworking of old ideas, one that looks especially unoriginal when compared with the sophisticated and often dazzling stadiums that have been built in Europe and the Far East over the last few years." And "worse for fans, its lounges and concourses are so sprawling that I suspect more than a few spectators will get lost and miss the second-half kickoff." Ouroussoff wrote the "idea is to evoke, through the architecture, the relentless flow of movement up and down the field." But Ouroussoff added of the stadium, "Walk around to either side of the structure and you're confronted with what looks like a conventional suburban office park" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18).

Jones Hopes Sunday's Game Tops League's
Regular-Season Attendance Record Of 103,467
EXCITEMENT BUILDING: In San Antonio, Tom Orsborn noted Jones for Sunday's game "has his sights set on topping" the league's regular-season attendance record of 103,467, set by the 49ers-Cardinals game played in '05 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The stadium "seats about 72,000, including suites and club seats, but it can top 100,000 for special events" and has a maximum occupancy is 111,947. Meanwhile, stadium workers throughout this week have been putting the "finishing touches on the stadium," including removing the "bronze statue of Tom Landry that was at Texas Stadium the past eight years" and placing it at Cowboys Stadium (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/16). In Dallas, Jeff Mosier noted Cowboys officials "wanted to reserve some surprises for the first regular-season game" at the stadium, including the team's star logo, which has been "missing from the turf for its two preseason games in Arlington." The team's Ring of Honor around the seating bowl of the stadium also has been "covered to keep visitors, employees, and fans taking tours from getting a sneak peek" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/13).

STRONG DEMAND FOR TICKETS: The MORNING NEWS' Mosier Friday reports tickets for games at the stadium are "changing hands at a furious rate -- some at huge markups but many at amounts not much above face value, thanks to a weak economy." StubHub estimated that 10% of all seats for Sunday's game "have gone through its site," and StubHub Corporate Communications Manager Joellen Ferrer said that the game is the "highest grossing [regular season NFL] game in the company's nine-year history based on the dollar amount of tickets sold." Meanwhile, Mosier notes a review of tickets for sale on StubHub and Craigslist found that "less expensive seats" for Sunday's game "were on sale anywhere from close to face value to about double face value" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/18).

OPEN SESAME: In Dallas, Todd Archer reports the stadium's roof "will be open Sunday." A decision on whether the roof is open or closed "has to be made 90 minutes before kickoff, and the decision for this week has been made -- although the game officials could call for it to be closed under weather conditions that threaten fan and player safety." The end zone doors "will also be open, which could create some wind currents." The NFL "does not have rules regarding the possibility of opening and closing the end zone doors during the game" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/18). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Caplan notes the doors "will remain open, along with the roof, throughout the game, barring inclement weather, in which case the Cowboys can close both" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/18).

OUT WITH THE OLD: In Dallas, Brandon Formby reports the Irving City Council is "expected to consider awarding a $5.8[M] demolition contract next week that would allow a Dallas excavation company to implode Texas Stadium." Irving "owns the stadium and the land on which it sits," and the implosion is "expected to take place early next year" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/18).

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