The Cowboys understand the debate created by the name change from Cowboys Stadium to AT&T Stadium, but it was at their insistence -- not the Dallas-based telecommunications company -- that Cowboys not be part of the new name.
"That was our decision all the way," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday. "It was not anything we considered. We wanted it to be AT&T Stadium, and in no way were they the ones leading the charge that there be no Cowboys in the name. We just felt like AT&T Stadium says a lot, and it’s important for us for it say a lot to our fans that we’re committed to being best in class when it comes to connectivity and technology."
Jones said having AT&T as the stadium's namesake will allow the Cowboys to continue to compete for fans' living rooms. The Cowboys drew a league-best 735,278 last season, an average of 91,910, in the NFL's biggest stadium. But the NFL has increasingly become a made-for-TV game, and the Cowboys believe their expanded relationship with AT&T will allow them to be innovative. The were the first team to show live shots of players in their locker room on the stadium's video board, a requirement of the NFL beginning this season.
They could expand that to show a portion of the head coach's halftime speech or somehow present a player's perspective from the game.
"We have to get people to our venues, and obviously our fans have enjoyed coming," Jones said. "That hasn’t been our problem -- getting them there. But we certainly don’t want to take that for granted. We’re going to have to be innovative. That’s why this was such an important partnership to us. It was more than just the money, at the end of the day, to us. Obviously, that’s important when you’re dealing with these stadiums and what you have to do to have the type of teams that our fans expect and we certainly have to be accountable to. We’re going to have to be innovative, and they want us to be. We certainly want to hold each other to a high standard, AT&T Stadium to a high standard, and we’ll certainly be making the investments that we need to make along with AT&T to make AT&T Stadium best in class."
Cowboys Stadium opened to rave reviews in 2009, and aside from the seating glitch at Super Bowl XLV, it has received glowing compliments throughout its short history. The Cowboys believe the expanded relationship with AT&T will make the stadium even better.
-- Charean Williams