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NBC's "Today" Focuses On Cowboys Stadium During Friday's Show

Lauer's Interview With Jones Part Of Live
"Today" Broadcast From Cowboys Stadium
Much of Friday's episode of NBC's "Today" focused on the new Cowboys Stadium, which plays host to its first regular-season game Sunday with Giants-Cowboys. NBC's Matt Lauer and Al Roker reported from the stadium throughout the first three hours of the show, including Lauer interviewing Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones during the opening half-hour. Jones said the stadium is "certainly about the fans," but also "about perception." Jones: "We probably could have built this stadium for about two-thirds of what we spent, but how it's perceived ... was very meaningful to us." Jones said of opening the $1.2B stadium during the economic downturn, "We are all sensitive to the times that we're in, but at the end of the day, the way that we're going to get out of this is to sell our way out of it." Lauer: "So this is a stimulus package in some ways?" Jones: "In a way. Obviously, it brought great economic benefit to this region just the building of it. But that's small in comparison to the businesses -- the services -- that are going to want people to be aware of them (through) advertising." Later in the show, NBC's Al Michaels discussed the Giants-Cowboys "SNF" broadcast and said, "In every stadium that I've been to in the past few years, you could always tell where they've cut a corner here and there, saved a little bit on the budget. I haven't seen anything like that here. This is unbelievable."

MORE THAN JUST FOOTBALL: Lauer in a taped report was given a tour of the stadium by former Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith. Lauer: "As the saying goes, 'Everything is bigger in Texas,' and for the new Cowboys Stadium ... that saying has never been more true." Smith added, "If you're a player and you cannot get fired up to play at this venue on this stage, you don't deserve to be on the Dallas Cowboys." Lauer during the tour touched on the field-level luxury suites, concession stands, bathrooms, the size of the stadium itself and seating before opening the retractable roof. Meanwhile, Roker noted fans are "going to get not just great football, but a little culture as well," as there are 14 "contemporary art installations from renowned artists around the world" throughout the stadium. Cowboys Exec VP/Brand Management and President of Charities Charlotte Jones Anderson: "We really wanted this to be more than just a sports stadium and we wanted to be able to offer our fans something unique." The broadcast also featured segments focusing on Cowboys Stadium Chef de Cuisine Juan Garrido, the pro shop inside the stadium and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders ("Today," NBC, 9/18).

WHAT'S IN A NAME? Jones Friday morning also appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box," and he said of opening the stadium, "I've had Super Bowl weeks, three of them, but never will I get to be a part of an opening of a stadium. This is on par with that. I'm excited. I can't sleep." CNBC's Darren Rovell noted AT&T at one time was rumored to be interested in the stadium's naming rights in a deal worth around $300-400M. Rovell: "Do you still think you can get that type of money and how long are you willing to wait?" Jones: "Our concept is 'sensitive to the times we're in.' These aren't exactly naming right times. From the standpoint of the long-term association, for instance, AT&T is the kind of partner you want to be with. ... I feel like as we move along, the economy moves along, we're going to easily be one of the most visible buildings there is in this country and if so, I think that will come" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 9/18).

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