The Dallas Cowboys are known for their international brand and high profile partnerships. The stadium rights deal that will re-name Cowboys Stadium as AT&T Stadium is just the latest example, falling after the likes of the Yankees (with Legends Hospitality).
Yet, the Cowboys' newest partner brings a significantly lower profile. In the years ahead, the Cowboys will be co-tenants of a to-be constructed indoor football facility being constructed to specifications set by the Frisco Independent School District.
As first reported by the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys and Frisco officials have agreed to build a domed stadium that will seat a minimum of 12,000 fans with capacity of up to 22,000 for concerts and other indoor events. As part of the agreement the Cowboys agree to cede all Thursday and Friday rights to the facility to Frisco ISD so the town can host football games for some of its seven (beginning in 2014) and eight (beginning in 2015) schools.
The new stadium is part of a broader partnership in which the city of Frisco is investing $115 million to woo the Cowboys' practice facilities and organizational headquarters to Frisco from Irving, where the team has long been based at Valley Ranch. No details were provided about precisely how much the Cowboys will spend on the move to Frisco, but it is expected to be at least $115 million based on veiled comments Cowboys owner Jerry Jones provided to the media at the press conference announcing the agreement.
"We have always over performed when it comes to spending money," Jones said. "I had to agree with Arlington that I would spend at least $325 million, which is what they put up to build the stadium. I think I put up another $900 million to do it right. And we’re going to do it right."
The indoor facility became necessary for all-weather practices for the Cowboys after the team's practice bubble collapsed during a storm in 2009 at the team's Valley Ranch headquarters in Irving. The team had since dragged its heels on constructing a new indoor facility, finally agreeing to the current deal on a 91-acre site in Frisco.
In addition to Cowboys practices and Frisco ISD football games, the new indoor facility also has another benefit; it's seen as a likely site for Texas high school football playoff games. The 12,000 fan capacity is an ideal number for many early round games, and Frisco ISD and the Cowboys could stand to re-coup a significant amount of the facility's construction costs by hosting as many playoff games as possible on the indoor turf.
As expected of a high school stadium, the Frisco facility will feature full locker rooms for both teams competing in a game as well as a large scoreboard.
Where that leaves the Cowboys to change and shower when they use the facility remains to be seen. Given Frisco's other professional-prep partnership with FC Dallas -- which hosts some of Frisco ISD's other football games at Pizza Hut Park -- the to-be-built dome is likely to bear a corporate naming partner as well.
Papa John's Dome, anyone? They're the official pizza of the Cowboys, and that would be a heck of a shot across the bow of Frisco's other pro partner.