In the early years, the Dallas Cowboys’ home field was the Cotton Bowl. When the Cowboys moved into Texas Stadium, it coincided with the team’s mastery over the Green Bay Packers, and most other teams for that matter.
AT&T Stadium, formerly called Cowboys Stadium before the team put revenues ahead of tradition, was completed in the spring of 2009. It was owner Jerry Jones’ dream, and it was thought to be an edifice that might never be matched. Texans think like that.
So even though Jerry was born in California and is an Arkansas guy, he’s totally a Texan now.
Though it’s often referred to as “Jerry World,” he didn’t put his billions into it. It’s owned by the city of Arlington. Jones originally envisioned it as an entertainment mecca, though it’s made its name largely as a sports palace: football, soccer, motocross, even some basketball.
Though it seats 80,000 for football games, that renders it only the fifth largest NFL stadium (by seating capacity); Lambeau Field comes in second in normal capacity and third when standing room is counted. However, the AT&T venue has a standing room capacity of over 105,000.
The record attendance for an NFL game was set there in 2009, with a crowd of 105,121. It accomplishes this by having “Party Pass” open areas behind the seats in the end zone, on a series of six elevated platforms. It sounds like the Packers copied this concept to a much lesser extent.
No matter what you build though, someone is going to come along and try to exceed it.
One of the most famous features of the stadium is its high definition video screen, which hangs over the field, and from one 20-yard line to the other. Already, though, it’s now only the world’s 24th largest high-def screen.
The stadium is a result of some serious cost-sharing. Originally estimated to cost $650 million, the actual amount was around $1.15 billion. Arlington voters approved a sales tax increase of 0.5%, a hotel occupancy tax boost of 2%, and a car rental increase of 5%. The City of Arlington also provided over $325 million in bonds, and Jones committed to covering any cost overruns. Finally, the NFL, which has a policy of helping to finance all these new mega-stadiums, provided the Cowboys with a $150 million loan.
The Packers are undefeated at AT&T Stadium, with a regular season win, a playoff win, and a Super Bowl win!
Other Costly Stadiums
Ten years later, a billion dollars or so is no big deal when it comes to housing our beloved sports teams. Coming in at numbers seven through are stadiums in Yokohama, Japan, St. Denis, France, Toronto, Canada, and Seoul, South Korea – each cost between $900 million and $1 billion.
In the No. 6 spot is Madison Square Garden ($1.1 billion).
London’s Wembley Stadium cost $1.35 billion. It’s where the Jags just beat the Ravens, before a crowd of 84,592.
Jerry World has slipped to fourth place on the cost list.
The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, cost $1.47 billion. Though at least six regular season Bills’ games have been played in Toronto, none as yet has been played in this pleasure palace.
The second costliest stadium (says therichest.com) is (new) Yankee Stadium, at $1.5 billion. However, Wikipedia claims the new Yankee Stadium, completed in 2009, cost $2.3 billion, including $1.2 billion in public subsidies.
And your winner is MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Home to the New York Giants and Jets, who also are the joint owners, it cost $1.6 billion to build, and opened in 2010 (as New Meadowlands Stadium).
More Stadium Miscellany
In 2011, the Super Bowl was hosted by the then-named Cowboys’ Stadium – with the Packers again doing just fine there! MetLife Stadium played host in 2014.
One of the two newest NFL venues, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, had a cost estimate in mid-2016 of $1.6 billion – I guess the bills are still coming in on it.
The other place, U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of the Vikings, came in at just over $1 billion. It’s the venue that will likely be hosting the Packers in the Super Bowl on February 4. At least it’s close to the Green Bay fan base!