What the Dallas Cowboys are telling fans about AT&T Stadium’s capacity in 2021

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Clarence E. Hill Jr.
·3 min read
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After a 2020 season severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in almost every way, the NFL’s plan for a return to normalcy and have full stadiums for the 2021 season is no longer just a hope and expectation as far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned.

In an email to season ticket holders about their 2021 renewal invoice, the Cowboys left no doubt about what is going to be the mode of operation at AT&T Stadium.

“For the 2021 season, we will be returning to a full capacity stadium and to the game day experience that you are accustomed to at AT&T Stadium,” the Cowboys said in the email. “We will remain focused on doing this in a safe and responsible way, consistent with public health guidance and in full compliance with state and local regulations. We look forward to welcoming you back to AT&T Stadium for an exciting season!”

The email was sent out on Tuesday, one day after the Texas Rangers, the Cowboys’ neighbors in Arlington, packed the house for the team’s home opener at Globe Life Field.

The Rangers said the announced attendance of 38,238 was a sellout although the ballpark’s stated capacity is 40,518. Either way, the venue was essentially full, which marks the first time that has happened at a sporting event in the United States in the pandemic era.

Monday was also the first official Rangers home game fans were allowed to attend since MLB’s health and safety protocols required that 2020’s regular season games be played in empty stadiums to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

The Rangers’ crowd surpassed the Cowboys’ top attendance figure last year when 31,700 fans came to AT&T Stadium for a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 7.

An average of 28,187 fans attended each Cowboys home game during the 2020 season, down considerably from an average of 90,929 per game in 2019. But the Cowboys are preparing for there to be full stadiums once again.

The team’s email on Tuesday is keeping with the expectations of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the fervent plans of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Goodell said as much during two weeks ago. “All of us in the NFL want to see every one of our fans back,” he said. “Football is simply not the same without the fans and we expect to have full stadiums in the 2021 season.”

Jones, who previously bragged about setting a pandemic world record for attendance in 2020, said the same thing on March 10 at the team’s press conference to announce the signing of quarterback Dak Prescott.

“I feel very good about saying to you we’re going to play with a full house,” Jones said. “We have a great facility where we can do prudent things when we need to. But we’ve gotten better in the NFL and the Cowboys [are] putting the show on, with safety in mind.”

Cowboys season ticket holders must pay their invoice or sign up for an automatic payment plan by May 1, the email said. They were also given the option to sign up for an opportunity to purchase postseason tickets.

The Cowboys are looking to bounce back from a deeply disappointing 2020 season in which they finished 6-10, had to deal with a rash of key injuries, including Prescott, and had one of the worst defensive showing of any team in franchise history.