AT&T Stadium, formerly Cowboys Stadium, is a retractable roof stadium in Arlington, Texas, United States. It serves as the home of the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL) and was completed on May 27, 2009. It is also the home of the Cotton Bowl Classic and the Big 12 Championship Game. The facility, owned by the city of Arlington, can also be used for a variety of other activities such as concerts, basketball games, soccer, college and high school football contests, rodeos, motocross, Spartan Races, and professional wrestling. It replaced the partially covered Texas Stadium, which served as the Cowboys’ home from 1971 through the 2008 season.
The stadium is widely referred to as Jerry World after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who originally envisioned it as a large entertainment venue. The stadium can seat around 80,000 people but can be reconfigured to hold around 100,000 seats making it the largest stadium in the NFL by seating capacity. Additional attendance is made possible by the Party Pass (open areas) sections behind the seats in each end zone which are positioned on a series of six elevated platforms connected by stairways. The record attendance for an NFL regular-season game was set in 2009 with a crowd of 105,121. It also has the world’s 31st largest high-definition video screen.
Although the stadium had yet to sell naming rights, many fans started referring to the project with various nicknames such as “Jerry World”, the “Death Star”, The Palace in Dallas” (for which announcer Bob Costas was criticized by the Arlington mayor), “Cowboys Cathedral”, “Jerrassic Park” and others. There was also a petition by some fans to have the stadium named after longtime Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry.
On May 13, 2009, Jerry Jones announced the official name as Cowboys Stadium.
On July 25, 2013, Jerry Jones announced that the Dallas Cowboys had agreed to grant naming rights to AT&T. The name change from Cowboys Stadium to AT&T Stadium took effect immediately. The sponsorship deal was reported to be worth about $17–19 million per year. Facility Solutions Group installed the “AT&T Stadium” letters on the top of the stadium. Signage includes two sets of letters 43 feet (13 m) tall stretching 385 feet (117 m). The letters are made of lightweight components and aluminum and are insulated and heated to melt ice and snow.
This is AT&T’s third major sports venue where it holds the naming rights. The others are AT&T Center in San Antonio, and Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.
Construction and Design
Originally estimated at $650 million, the stadium’s actual construction cost rose to $1.15 billion, making it one of the most expensive sports venues ever built. To aid Cowboys owner and general manager, Jerry Jones, in paying the construction costs of the new stadium, Arlington voters approved the increase of the city’s sales tax by 0.5%, the hotel occupancy tax by 2%, and car rental tax by 5%. The City of Arlington provided over $325 million (including interest) in bonds as funding, and Jones covered any cost overruns. Also, the NFL provided the Cowboys with an additional $150 million loan, following its policy for facilitating financing for the construction of new stadiums.
The lead architect on the design team at HKS Architects for the project was Bryan Trubey, who has stated that the overarching concept for the stadium was ” that this should not be just a stadium, but should almost be built like a civic structure.
A pair of nearly 300 ft (91 m)-tall arches spans the length of the stadium dome (one of the tallest domes in the world), anchored to the ground at each end. The new stadium also includes “more than 3,000 Sony LCD displays throughout the luxury suites, concourses, concession areas and more, offering fans viewing options that extend beyond the action on the field”. It also houses a center-hung Mitsubishi video display board that was the largest HDTV screen in the world at the time of its installation. It has since been surpassed in size by the Panasonic “Big Hoss” video board (218 feet (66 m) wide and 94.6 feet (28.8 m) tall) at Texas Motor Speedway. Glass doors, allowing each end zone to be opened, were designed and constructed by Dallas-based Haley-Greer glass systems.