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AT&T Stadium: A Mecca of Entertainment
AT&T Stadium is an architectural spectacle and technological marvel that hosts a wide variety of entertainment events, mainly for people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
It has been described in a number ways and given several nicknames. But no matter how you look at it, or how you may have enjoyed it, AT&T Stadium is essentially the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Conceived by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, AT&T Stadium is owned by the City of Arlington, TX, and has been the venue for major events since 2009. Those events have included everything from concerts to car shows, and football to The Final Four.
AT&T Stadium History
Football and the Cowboys have been the driving force behind any concept of big outdoor venues in the Dallas area for decades.
The mecca for big events for years was the old Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. That is where the Cowboys played their home games from 1960 to 1971. Then the big stadium with “the hole in the roof,” Texas Stadium assumed the role of the host for the Cowboys games and other big events.
As stadiums of that era were overtaken in design by stadiums and arenas that offered more club and luxury seating, Texas Stadium was considered outmoded after only about 20 years of service.
Not long after Arkansas businessman Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989, the notion of a new venue, and a new home for the Cowboys, became a reality.
At first Jones proposed a major expansion and renovation for Texas Stadium. But by the mid 1990s, the estimated cost of the renovation became less feasible in comparison to the price-tag of a whole new project.
By the turn of the millennium, Jones was discussing sites for a new stadium with cities in the Dallas area. In 2004, the Fair Park complex in Dallas was announced as the site for the new stadium, but that deal fell through when Dallas County officials refused to ask taxpayers to put up the $425 million needed to help finance the project.
Not long after that, the city of Arlington, just west of Dallas, agreed to ask their voters to approve a tax increase and a bond issue that would cover $325 million of the cost. The issue passed that November, and the project was on its way.
Ground was broken for the facility in 2006. It would be called Cowboys Stadium before actual naming rights were sold. But the new stadium would also take on plenty of nicknames, including “Jerry World,” “The Death Star," "The Palace in Dallas," and “Jurassic Park.”
In 2013, the name became AT&T Stadium in a naming rights deal estimated at about $17-$19 million a year.
AT&T Stadium is one of the most recognizable arenas in the world, bolstered by its two 300-foot high exterior arches that span the dome. A canted glass wall surrounds the structure, with 180-foot by 120-foot retractable glass doors at each end zone.
The two main features of the building are its retractable roof and its giant center-hung video display board.
The roof looks much like the one at Texas Stadium when opened, but it can close within 20 minutes. The high definition video display board was the largest of its kind when it was first installed. With basketball events, it is actually bigger than the court itself.
AT&T Stadium Features
In addition to the giant screen, there are more than 3,000 other TV screens situated throughout the luxury boxes, concourses and other public areas, so that fans can follow the action on the field from almost anywhere.
The stadium has what are called Party Pass open areas behind seats in each end zone and on a series of elevated platforms connected by stairways.
There is a large restaurant called the Stadium Club that offers fine dining in a sports bar atmosphere, but visitors can also get food from any of dozens of concessions that have anything from hot dogs to gourmet food and drink.
You can find a world-class contemporary fine art collection and a Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame and Pro Shop.
In addition to regular seating areas, there are five levels with 200 suites, containing 15,000 club seats and various amenities.
Big Events at AT&T Stadium
Though home to the Cowboys, AT&T Stadium hosted a number of events before the first kickoff.
AT&T Stadium opened its doors in 2009, and in June that year, it was the scene of a country music concert showcasing Lee Ann Womack, Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, and George Strait.
It also staged couple of big soccer games and a college football game before the Cowboys played their first regular season game on Sept. 21, losing to the New York Giants, 33–31.
The Big 12 Conference football championship was at AT&T Stadium in December of that year, and the stadium has hosted three other Big 12 titles.
College basketball’s Final Four was at AT&T in 2014, and the college football championship game was there in 2015.
In addition to having about three major concerts a year at the stadium, Wrestlemania and the Country Music Awards have been staged there.
A number of title boxing matches have been at AT&T, two involving Manny Pacquiao. He retained his WBO welterweight title against James Clottey and defeated Antonio Margarito to win the WBC Super welterweight title, both in 2010.
AT&T Stadium It is a monument to football and a tribute to the success of the Dallas Cowboys.
But it is also a beautiful and encompassing marvel of architecture that is worth a visit, even if you do nothing more than drive by to take a look. If you buy tickets to AT&T Stadium events, you be treated to entertainment and action unlike any you have experienced before. AT&T
AT&T Stadium Facts
Location: Arlington, Texas
Capacity: 80,000 for football, expandable to 105,000 for other events
Opened: May 27, 2009 Before the stadium was officially named, there was a petition by some fans to have it named after longtime Cowboys' coach Tom Landry.
The Texas Longhorns defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 13–12 in the first Big 12 title game at AT&T Stadium in 2009. The Oklahoma Sooners have taken the Big 12 crown at the stadium three times.
In 2010, 108,713 bought tickets to the NBA All-Star Game at AT&T, the highest-attended basketball game in history.
Pacquiao's defeat of Margarito made him the first fighter in history to win world titles in 8 different weight classes.
The bottom of the giant display screen is 175 feet up, but it was once hit by an NFL punter.
AT&T Stadium has also hosted big high school football games, car and truck events, and rodeos.