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  • Writer's pictureMichael Davis

AT&T Stadium - Dallas Cowboys

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

AT&T Stadium 925 N Collins St Arlington, TX 76011

Year Opened: 2009

Capacity: 80,000


Dallas Cowboys: AT&T Stadium

AT&T Stadium is the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and is in Arlington, Texas, in the heart of the DFW Metroplex between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth.

AT&T Stadium opened on May 27, 2009, when country singer and Texas’ own George Strait performed in front of 60,188 fans. A few months later on September 20th (4 years to the day after ground was broken at the stadium), the Cowboys played their first regular season game versus the New York Giants – the attendance on this historic night was 105,121. Although AT&T Stadium’s listed capacity is 80,000 people, the standing room only areas on the east and west side, referred to as Party Passes (available for $50), give the facility the potential to hold up to 105,000.

AT&T Stadium is one of the premier stadiums in the world, breaking numerous attendance records. Besides being home to the Dallas Cowboys, the stadium has hosted events such as Super Bowl XLV, the NBA All-Star game, the NCAA Final Four, the Big 12 Conference Football Championship, the annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the UIL Texas state high school football championships, WrestleMania XXXII, and WrestleMania XXXVIII

Food & Beverage 5

AT&T Stadium’s incredible catering is handled by Legends Corporation, which comes through with a few unique items – although the prices are high the tastes are incredible. Some of their unique dishes are chicken waffle sandwiches, Kobe burgers dressed up with either green chiles or BBQ, catfish po-boy sandwiches, prime rib sandwiches, and Frito pie. All of these are outstanding choices, but the high prices may deter some fans from purchasing them.

Beside these unique items, AT&T Stadium offers classic fare such as ultimate nachos, jalapeño and cheese sausages, Nathan’s hot dogs, pretzels, refillable popcorn, and peanuts. The venue does cater to a healthier lifestyle as well, with choices including gluten-free turkey sandwiches, vegetarian black bean burgers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit cups, and whole dill pickles. The venue also serves Pepsi and Dr Pepper products.

Miller Lite is a main sponsor of the Dallas Cowboys, so throughout the stadium Miller Lite and Coors are sold at the price of $10. In addition, Shiner Bock, Dos Equis, MGD 64, and Blue Moon are sold for $12, and if you have club seats you will have the same variety of beer along with mixed drinks. The stadium does serve wine in all club bars, including the four upper concourse bars and at the portable beer carts. However, the most popular alcoholic drink seems to be the Cowboy Rita (a frozen margarita) for $20.

There is plenty of food around the stadium, however, as with other sport venues the real eating should be done at tailgates or at outside restaurants to save Legends Corporation from eating your wallet.

Atmosphere 4

The atmosphere at AT&T Stadium is alive and electric and begins hours before kickoff when the tailgaters enter the parking areas. Since tailgating is limited to designated areas, space is hard to come by, so plan accordingly if you want to participate. But the atmosphere is friendly and festive no matter which team colors you are wearing – the Cowboys provide pre-game entertainment beginning two hours before kickoff, with two stages located at AT&T Plaza (east side of the stadium) and at Miller Lite Plaza (west side). Other pre-game entertainment features the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, the Dallas Cowboys Drum Line along with the Rhythm & Blues Dancers, and portable bars and food trucks.

The countdown to kickoff begins with an appearance by Rowdy, the Cowboys mascot, riding a motorcycle down the sideline. The attention then quickly turns to the entrance of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders from the corner tunnels on the west side of the stadium – the cheerleaders then take center stage and perform to AC-DC’s Thunderstruck, ending their performance with the dance line performing a jump split. The performers then file into the tunnel at midfield on the Cowboys side, before re-appearing for the Dallas Cowboys’ player introductions. Both teams enter the field at the 50 yard-line through the lower club seats on opposite sides of the field – the north sideline of the stadium is the visitor’s side while the south side is for the Cowboys.

The game atmosphere itself depends on what is happening on the field, but many people feel that the stadium is so amazingly large that a home field advantage just doesn’t exist – However, this isn’t from a lack of trying by Cowboys fans; the pure massiveness of this venue makes the fans seem sometimes distant from the playing field, with the fans in the 400 sections being high up and far away from the playing surface. However, the incredibly large video screen does bring the action closer for fans in the upper level.

The Cowboys also offer party passes for every Cowboys home game throughout the season. The holders of these passes have access to the east and west platforms of the stadium, which is a standing room only type of access that gets the holder into the stadium, but without a seat – stadium ushers have been advised to check tickets closely because of the party pass option. Party pass holders will line up early to enter the stadium as they rush to claim their standing space, as it doesn’t take long for those areas to fill up, leaving some pass holders ending up watching the game on the large video screen.

Overall, the stadium, fans, and the amazing architectural structure, with its retractable roof and doors, provides a good atmosphere to see a game. However, don’t expect to have the roof or the doors open during the game, as they are customarily kept closed due to the Texas weather. The fantastic artwork located throughout the stadium also adds an interesting touch and brings another reason any sports fan would enjoy their visit to AT&T Stadium. In addition, the facility now has its own mobile app that can provide real-time information during your game day experience.

Neighborhood 3

AT&T Stadium is within reasonable walking distance of the Arlington artery of restaurants on Collins Street – there is no public transportation in the city of Arlington, so there is plenty of foot traffic going to and from these restaurants.

The Tailgate Tavern (located on the other side of Walmart) is close to AT&T Stadium, but is highly overpriced, crowded, and has slow service. The better choice is to look on or across Collins Street from the stadium – there you have Fishbone Grill and Airway Burgers, along with many popular fast food and chain restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Wendy’s, Subway, etc.

Another good spot in the neighborhood is Lincoln Square, an area of restaurants and shops approximately a quarter mile from AT&T Stadium on the corner of Interstate 30 and Collins Street; Lincoln Square offers Catch-A-Ride if you spend $40 (for example by buying a simple gift card), meaning parking will be free and you can ride their shuttle to and from the stadium for $5. However, due to the traffic congestion I would forget the shuttle and make the walk instead.

If you prefer to be away from the congestion of Collins Street, but still want to find a couple of restaurants that would be a good pre or postgame hangout, you can visit the old downtown area of Arlington between E. Abram Street and E. Division St, only a couple of miles from AT&T Stadium. In this small area there are plenty of options such as Flying Fish, Twisted Root Beer Company, J Gilligan’s Bar and Grill, Babe’s Chicken, and Grease Monkey Burger Shop. There are also two local craft breweries to visit here as well: Legal Draft Beer Company and Division Brewing.

The most popular place around AT&T Stadium’s neighborhood is Texas Live. Texas Live is a $250 million world class dining and entertainment district opened in 2018 next to Globe Life Field (home of the Texas Rangers) There are plenty of food and drink options inside Texas Live such as Lockhart Smoke House, PBR Texas, Pudge’s Pizza, and Troy’s, as well as the outdoor concert venue Arlington Backyard. Loews Texas Live Hotel provides a close luxury hotel besides the Sheraton-Arlington; there is construction currently going on for another Loews Hotel and parking garage across from the current hotel.

AT&T Stadium is only a short distance from Globe Life Field, Six Flags over Texas, and Hurricane Harbor in an area known as the Entertainment District. For lodging, consider a stay at the Sheraton (1500 Convention Center Drive) or Courtyard by Marriott (1500 Nolan Ryan Expressway).

Fans 5

Every Cowboys fan seems to have a reason why they “bleed Cowboy blue” – for some being born and raised in Texas is reason enough, while for others it might be that their hometown doesn’t have an NFL team, but television brought the Cowboys into their homes and hearts.

Cowboys fans are knowledgeable, passionate, and they take every win or loss by their team very personally. Many fans seem to have traveled to Texas specifically for a Dallas Cowboys home game, because it is on their bucket list and has been a life-long dream. It is truly amazing to witness fans coming from all over the world to AT&T Stadium, just to see the star on the field and be in the presence of their extended Cowboys family.

Access 3

AT&T Stadium is located about 20 minutes south of DFW International Airport, and although the facility is at the center point between Dallas and Fort Worth, there is no public transportation to or from Arlington. Therefore, transportation can become a bit expensive – an Uber/Lyft can easily cost $80 to $100 if you are staying at a downtown hotel in Dallas. Besides the cost, be prepared to wait at least an hour to be picked up – Uber/Lyft drop-offs and pick-ups are located on the west side of the stadium, off N. Collins and Cowboys Way. However, there is also a Cowboys bus that shuttles fans from downtown Fort Worth to AT&T Stadium, leaving from Vickery Park & Ride and accessed from the 200 block of W. Vickery Blvd, just south of the T&P rail station.

The Dallas Cowboys have the highest average parking cost in the NFL at $75 per vehicle, so renting a car isn’t much cheaper. AT&T Stadium owns 15 parking lots with about 12,000 parking stalls, and the Texas Rangers parking lots add another 12,000 spaces, meaning the rest of the parking comes from local businesses, churches, and private homes renting out their lots, and the further away from the stadium you get the cheaper the cost. The Walmart parking lot is NOT an option, as cars will be towed. Also note that during the early part of the Cowboys schedule the Rangers are still in season, so on game days when both teams are in action parking and traffic issues will be multiplied, so be sure to leave yourself additional travel time.

Various nearby hotels in the Arlington area and around DFW airport do provide free or low-cost shuttle service to AT&T Stadium. There are also a couple of hotels within walking distance of the stadium if you can book a room early, most likely as soon as the NFL schedule is released.

There are ten guest entrances into AT&T Stadium, however, I recommend that you enter the stadium at the gate stated on your ticket – the main concourse of the stadium is split in half because of the premier club seating, which may prevent you from walking across to the other side, forcing you to go up to the 400 level and then back down to the main concourse.

AT&T Stadium has a wide concourse, plenty of concessions stands, two large pro shops on the main concourse, and two smaller shops in the upper level for Cowboys fans to add souvenirs to their collections. The facility is also a premier venue that is fully ADA accessible, the concourses and restrooms are well kept, and there is plenty of legroom in the seating sections.

The stadium security/gate procedures follow the NFL’s ‘clear bag’ policy, and it’s best to familiarize yourself with these rules ahead of time to avoid unnecessary headaches. You may want to read the policy, as many fans are sent back to their cars for not complying.

Return on Investment 3

The Cowboys average ticket price is $99, below the league average of $107, according to Statista. However, I’m sure that is including the party passes – add in the highest average parking cost in the league and attending a Cowboys game can be expensive. The $50 party passes offer a way to get into the stadium, but this option doesn’t guarantee seeing the game live – the $50 ticket is standing room only located on the two end zone platforms of the stadium, and most fans on these platforms end up just watching the game on the video board because the platforms are overcrowded throughout the game. These party pass tickets are more for fans that want the feel of being at the game rather than those who really want to watch it.

Nevertheless, the return on investment at AT&T Stadium can be manageable, if plans are made in advance, as ticket prices can vary based on the opponent or date of the game. The phrase, “you get what you pay for” may be the best way to describe the return on investment when attending a Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium.

Extras 5

AT&T Stadium has several extra elements which help push the overall game day experience over the top. First, the Cowboys do not retire jerseys to honor their past greats, as they have the Ring of Honor – the ring currently has 22 names of legends and continues to grow. This is a great extra element, to be reminded of past Cowboy greats like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, and Tony Dorsett, among others. There is also a nice statue of Tom Landry near the ticket booth and pro shop.

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders also deserve a mention as one of the most prolific cheerleading organizations in any sport. These young women are not only beautiful, but are well-educated, hardworking, talented, and are truly great ambassadors for the NFL, visiting local hospitals, supporting charities, and traveling overseas to visit and support U.S. troops through their USO tours.

In addition, the Dallas Cowboys art collection, located throughout the inside of the venue, features 27 different works of art from various artists. Fans can also enjoy the array of large glossy historic photographs that can be found throughout the venue, depicting some of the greatest moments in Dallas Cowboys history.

AT&T Stadium also offers four different types of stadium tours – VIP guided, unguided, audio art tour, and guided art tour. The venue also opens for a limited number of days during the season for Rally Days, which offer fans the chance to take a self-guided tour, meet former Cowboys players, take pictures with the Super Bowl trophies, and enjoy appearances from the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

Final Thoughts

AT&T Stadium has been the home of Dallas Cowboys football for a decade. However, the stadium continues to be a leader in providing top notch entertainment year-round.

The facility is the blueprint for other new NFL venues such as Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, but AT&T Stadium is still very impressive to all fans, especially newcomers, as they walk in for the first time.

There is no argument that the AT&T Stadium experience comes with a higher price than other stadiums around the NFL, However, a trip to watch a Dallas Cowboys game in the Mecca of sports venues should truly be at the top of any football fan’s bucket list.

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