STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #2
- Location: Arlington, TX
- Opened 2009
- Capacity: 80,000, expandable to 100,000
- Weather: n/a (indoors)
- Games attended: 2 (plus 1 tour)
- Last visited: 2016
Much like Camden Yards changed the game for baseball stadiums, Jerry World changed the game for football palaces.
It was no longer good enough to have a great open-air stadium with fabulous sightlines, wide concourses, club seating, a large endzone videoboard, and luxury suites. You needed luxury suites ON the field. A bar so close to the tunnel, you can tap your heroes on the shoulder for good luck as they take the field. An art collection displayed throughout the facility. 5-star-hotel-quality finishings in the premium seating areas. A 160’×72′ HDTV that hangs between the 20 yard lines in the middle of the field. A retractable roof and 180 foot by 120 foot glass retractable doors at each end zone. 3,000 TVs, 15,000 club seats, and 10 VIP lounges. And a 10-digit price tag. AT&T Stadium has it all.
The place is huge. The stadium alone (excluding parking) sits on 73 acres (by comparison, Target Field, the Minnesota Twins baseball home, sits on 8). It can hold 100,000 people and takes up 3 million square feet of space. Its size and its luxury make a statement befitting “America’s Team”. It’s a symbol of the extravagance and money-machine that is the National Football League. The overwhelming response when you experience it in person is pure awe.
It only gets more awesome when you throw in an amazing game day production, the gorgeous Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and the knowledge that you’re likely on national TV.
Alas, “awe” doesn’t come cheap. Unless you’re really rolling in it, the best seats are likely out of your snack bracket, so you’re looking at seats beyond the 30’s or in the upper deck. I normally like height in a football game, but the upper deck here is further from the field than most due to all the club and suite seating beneath you. If in the upper bowl, you may find yourself watching on the huge videoboard that’s right in front you instead of looking down to the field, something I caught myself doing frequently.
The more interesting concessions are pricy; most fans feed at their pre-game tailgate, at one of the close-to-the-stadium chain restaurants, or now, at Texas Live which sits right beside the Rangers’ new ballpark. And parking can be quite expensive close-in to the stadium (you’re likely driving because Arlington doesn’t have public transit), so you’re better off parking further away to save a bucks and to get a bit of a jump on the significant post-game traffic.
The Cowboys’ stadium is elitist, expensive and excessive (kinda of like the Jimmy Johnson Cowboys’). It’s also one of the most amazing buildings you’ll ever go in. Even as the stadium enters its second decade, it remains in a class by itself. As impressive as it looks on TV, it’s even more incredible in person.