Known as America's team because of their success and
popularity, the Dallas Cowboys opened a new chapter in their legendary history
with the opening of AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) in 2009. For
more than 30 years, the Cowboys played at Texas Stadium, one of the most
recognizable stadiums in football. However, just like every other team in
the NFL, the Cowboys wanted a new football stadium to increase revenue. As far back as 1994, owner of the Cowboys, Jerry
Jones, began looking into the possibility of a new or expanded Texas
Stadium. Initially Jones wanted to expand Texas Stadium, adding 40,000 seats
and a retractable roof. Over the next several years, Jones not only kept
alive discussions of renovating Texas Stadium, but began looking at sites to
construct a new stadium. Throughout the next decade, the Cowboys moved away
from the idea of renovating Texas Stadium and focused on building a new
facility. It took nearly a decade for the team to find a suitable site for
construction, settling on a location near the
Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers (MLB). In
order to finance construction of the $1.15 billion stadium,
Arlington voters approved a $325 million bond in November 2004 that raises
the city's sales tax by a half-cent, hotel occupancy tax by 2 percent and
car rental tax by 5 percent. The NFL contributed $150 million towards the stadium
with the Cowboys paying the remaining amount.
officials traveled the country, visiting some of the newest NFL stadiums in
order to develop and design the greatest stadium in the league. Designed by
HKS Architects, Inc., AT&T Stadium is one of the most recognizable
stadiums in all of sports. The exterior features a
futuristic design that consists of a canted 800 foot glass wall.
A pair of
massive, 292 foot arches span the length of the stadium, supporting the
facility and the retractable roof. At each endzone are glass retractable
doors, 180 foot wide by 120 foot high. They are the largest in the world, and
open or close in 18 minutes. Atop AT&T Stadium is the retractable roof,
that when open emulates the distinctive Texas Stadium opening/hole.
As fans enter AT&T
Stadium they receive panorama views of the field as it is 50 feet
below street level. The stadium has main seating capacity of
80,000 but is expandable to seat nearly 100,000 fans for
large events such as the Super Bowl. The stadium does not feature
traditional stadium seats that are bolted individually into the
concrete grandstands. Instead the seats are
fastened onto long, aluminum rails bolted into the concrete. The seats take up 24 inches of space with small gaps between
the chairs. The Cowboys can squeeze the seats closer together,
adding one or two chairs per row to increase the seating capacity
to nearly 100,000.
On five levels there are 200 suites that includes the Hall of Fame
level that is just 21 rows from the playing field.
15,000 club seats surrounding the field offering additional
features that are not be found elsewhere throughout stadium.
Fans with seats
anywhere in the stadium are able to see the massive HD vidoeboard that is
suspended 90 feet above the center of the field. This four screen HD
videoboard is 160 feet long
by 71 feet high and runs from one 25 yard line to the other. It is one of
largest HD videoboards in the world. Many amenities can be found at AT&T
Stadium including the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame and Pro Shop that allow
fans to learn the history of their favorite team and buy merchandise. The first event was a country concert featuring George
Strait on June 9, 2009. The Dallas Cowboys played their first game
at the stadium on September 20, 2009 against the New York Giants.
Originally known as Cowboys Stadium, the facility was renamed AT&T
Stadium in July 2013 after AT&T Communications purchased the
naming rights. In addition to
being the home of the Cowboys, the stadium is the site of many high
profile sporting events and concerts. They have already included the 2009 Big XII Football
Championship, the annual Cotton Bowl, 2010 NBA All-Star Game and Super Bowl
XLV in 2011.