The new logo for AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.
It’s been a long time coming. AT&T has expanded its sponsorship of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys to include the naming rights for AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
According to Stephen Jones, COO and Exec. VP for the Cowboys, the team targeted AT&T as a potential naming rights partner from the very beginning.
“We actually approached AT&T right about the time we put a shovel in the ground to build the stadium,” said Jones. “We were going along a good path and then the same thing happened to a lot of people: the economy turned upside down and made it very difficult to do these type of things, which we completely understood.”
“We were able to rekindle the fire here in the last several months and were able to get something done,” he added.
AT&T has been a founding sponsor of the stadium since 2009. With this agreement, the partnership deepens to include the naming of the stadium and an expanded technology service.
Already, the capacity for the AT&T 4G LTE cellular phone network has been doubled within the stadium, plazas and parking lots. Next up, the Cowboys and AT&T will nearly double the capacity of the WiFi network inside AT&T Stadium.
“Our goal is always to be best in class when it comes to connectivity and technology,” said Jones. “This will enable our fans to be able to access WiFi all at once and make it easy for them to connect with their friends outside of the stadium.”
There are also plans to enhance the Cowboys’ mobile app by adding maps and way-finding technology.
“This is a big opportunity to showcase our leading-edge technologies in a way that will give our customers and community a world-class, mobile-first experience,” said AT&T Spokesman Fletcher Cook.
Details of the contract, including its length and monetary value, weren’t specified, but Jones did say that the team will pay for the signage changes to integrate the AT&T brand into the stadium. The goal is for the majority of the signage to be up by the NFL season opener on Sept. 8, though some of the more sophisticated signage including incorporating the AT&T globe and name onto the roof may take more time.
“The AT&T name will have a tremendously increased presence inside and outside the venue, including the scoreboard, stadium roof and other fixed and electronic assets,” said Cook. “We’ll reach millions of fans in the stadium and millions more who watch event broadcasts.”
The Cowboys and AT&T brokered the naming rights deal directly, with some consulting and feedback from Legends. The exact financials of the deal aren’t clear, but the city of Arlington will receive a set dollar amount from the partnership each year.
“It was part of our original deal with Arlington that if we had a naming rights partner, they would participate,” said Jones, who added that the city will receive $500,000 annually from the agreement. He would not confirm public estimates for the naming rights deal of $17-$19 million per year.
During the press conference to announce AT&T Stadium, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said this isn’t the most expensive naming rights deal, but it’s the best relationship. Other recent naming rights deals include a $700-million, 30-year agreement for proposed-NFL stadium Farmers Field in Los Angeles, and the 49ers Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., signed a $220-million, 20-year naming rights agreement earlier this year.
In addition to Cowboys games, AT&T Stadium will host the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and the first-ever college football playoff national championship game in 2015.
Interviewed for this story: Fletcher Cook, (415) 318-4202; Stephen Jones, (817) 892-4161