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Design & Development

Cowboys seek to make AT&T Stadium ‘better than new’ with $295m project

Featured image credit: Trac Vu on Unsplash

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said the NFL franchise’s $295m (£242.9m/€278m) renovation project will make AT&T Stadium “better than new”, while the Las Vegas Raiders are planning upgrades for Allegiant Stadium, including the installation of an exterior misting system.

The Cowboys’ intent to upgrade the stadium they have called home since 2009 was first reported last week. At that time few details were revealed about the plans, but the Cowboys have now shed further light on the scheme following this week’s NFL owners meetings.

At the meetings, the NFL approved a proposal, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, for the Cowboys to withhold their normal contributions of shared gate revenue to finance the upgrades. The Cowboys also gained a waiver to the NFL’s usual $600m team debt limit.

The improvements will not alter the appearance of the stadium, but will instead focus on revamping some premium space and upgrading technology, including the venue’s main giant centre-hung video board.

“That was the intent all along: to maintain it better than new,” said Jones. “That’s what we’re trying to do. Principally, it’s to take some of the areas that we can really do more efficiently – some of the locations of the concession stands. Also, we intend to upgrade and replace anything that looks like it’s had a foot on it. We want it to look like it did the first day you walked in there and could eat off it.”

The upgrades will represent the most extensive renovation to the facility since it opened and are targeted to ensure AT&T Stadium remains in the mix when it comes to attracting major events. No timeline has been set for the work but the Cowboys are hoping to complete the upgrades ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which AT&T Stadium will serve as a host venue for.

Other events held at the stadium include the annual Cotton Bowl Classic and the Big 12 Championship Game, while it was recently awarded hosting rights for the 2030 edition of the NCAA’s Final Four basketball event.

Cowboys vice-president, Stephen Jones, added: “To me and most people, it feels brand new. But certainly there are some areas. You start with our big scoreboard, so proud of it. But over time you get to where you can’t find parts for equipment and it’s time to upgrade that scoreboard, which I think our fans love.

“Audio and video in general around the stadium needs upgrading. And in general just freshening up all our suites, our club areas, things of that nature. It will be something that for the most part all fans will benefit from and certainly we’ll take the next step to have AT&T being hopefully one of the best stadiums in the world for the next 14-15 years.”

Allegiant Stadium improvements

The Raiders have put forward a 15-item list of improvements for Allegiant Stadium to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

In total, some $7.5m worth of work has been proposed for the $2bn facility, which opened in 2020, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Some of the items put forward are for safety and security and some are for comfort and the overall experience for the guests,” said Brian Gordon, principal at Applied Analysis who serves as staff for the stadium authority.

“Those are the primary things they (Raiders) have in mind when bringing forward these capital improvements.”

The most significant item, coming in at $3.5m, is the expansion of the gate canopies that surround the exterior of the stadium. This is being viewed as a means to enhance the fan experience for eventgoers during the sweltering summer heat in Las Vegas. Tied into this is the installation of an exterior misting system around Allegiant Stadium, which has a price tag of $1.3m.

The Raiders are expected to propose a list of capital improvements each year, in-line with the lease agreement the team signed in 2018 pledging to ensure Allegiant Stadium remains a premier NFL facility.

“Whether they intend to make repairs or maintenance types of investments into the facility, as well as making additional improvements to Allegiant Stadium, they will bring that forward on an annual basis,” Gordon added.