Dallas Cowboys ‘Party Pass’ Fiasco

dallas cowboys stadiumIn addition to embarrassing themselves with a shoddy performance in their first real game at their new stadium, the Dallas Cowboys vastly oversold standing-room-only “Party Pass” tickets in order to set the NFL attendance record.

Arlington officials and the Dallas Cowboys are discussing the possibility of reducing the number of standing-room-only tickets by two-thirds after crowds became unruly Sunday night when they weren’t allowed into the stadium. Assistant Fire Chief Don Crowson said negotiations Monday would have the Cowboys limit sales to about 10,000 Party Passes at future games, though there could be a few exceptions.

Team officials said they sold 30,000 of the $29 tickets to Sunday’s game, which was the Cowboys’ first regular-season matchup at the new stadium in Arlington. Cowboys officials, however, said they were willing to talk with the city about changes but have not agreed to anything.

The attendance of 105,121 was a record for a regular-season NFL game.

As kickoff approached Sunday night, Cowboys and public safety officials decided to stop trying to control the flow of fans into the end zone decks when the crowds became angry. “We believe that it was a better decision to go ahead and let people in vs. confronting them in a situation out on the plaza based on the how the crowd dynamic was evolving,” Crowson said.

In what seemed both a shrewd business move and a sop to regular Joes priced out of  personal seat licenses available with a 30-year mortgage, owner Jerry Jones offered the “Party Pass” to allow fans to plunk down a relatively small amount to enjoy the atmosphere of the live game experience.  But, it seems, they didn’t read the fine print.  For their $29, they weren’t actually guaranteed a spot anywhere inside the stadium!  Instead, most had to stand outside and watch the game on television from various patios — where concessions are still stadium priced!  Some misunderstood entirely and drove home.

Not surprisingly, many showed up early to partake in tailgating activities before the night game.  Which meant they were feeling no pain by the time they were ready to file into the stadium to take their spot.  When they found out there was no spot, a near-riot situation broke out.

Oh, and it turns out, fans who paid hundreds of dollars for regular seats — in addition to the PSLs, of course — were not too happy to have to push their way  through a wall of drunken yahoos to get to those seats.  Or to have to confront them when they returned to said seats from bathroom and concession breaks to find their seats stolen.

One presumes this was a one-time deal, with Jones selling as many tickets as possible to the unveiling of his $1.2 billion stadium and break the crowd record.  But, yeeks, this isn’t the news he wanted coming out of the grand opener.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ugh says:

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer franchise.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Need a stimulus package, STAT!

  3. Triumph says:

    One presumes this was a one-time deal, with Jones selling as many tickets as possible to the unveiling of his $1.2 billion stadium and break the crowd record.

    FYI- The stadium is actually owned by the City of Arlington.

  4. JWF says:

    The funniest part of the game wasn’t all the Tony Romo picks. It was seeing Jerry Jones pick his nose on national television.

  5. James Joyner says:

    FYI- The stadium is actually owned by the City of Arlington.

    Technically true, even though Jones ran the show and owns exclusive rights to its use through 2038.

  6. Triumph says:

    owns exclusive rights to its use through 2038.

    Are you sure? I don’t know the details, but does Jones, then, get the receipts from the concerts, soccer games, etc.. that are held at the stadium?

    Piece of trivia: the first football game at the new stadium was played entirely by foreigners.

  7. Doug says:

    Jones paiid $800 million out of his pockets to build it. The city picked up about $350 million of it

  8. Herb says:

    Jones paiid $800 million out of his pockets to build it. The city picked up about $350 million of itHuh….

    I tried to get the city to pay for almost half of my new construction project, but they said no. Of course, I’m not a billionaire like Jerry Jones…

  9. James Joyner says:

    I don’t know the details, but does Jones, then, get the receipts from the concerts, soccer games, etc.. that are held at the stadium?

    Best I can tell, yes. Jones has leased the stadium through 2038 for a pretty generous rental. But Jones is personally recruiting events for the venue, having lined up various sporting events, the Super Bowl, etc.

    I tried to get the city to pay for almost half of my new construction project, but they said no. Of course, I’m not a billionaire like Jerry Jones.

    You’re probably not bringing national TV exposure and hundreds of thousands of tourists in, either.

  10. Brett says:

    Jones frankly had it coming. The man has an ego like George Steinbrunner’s.

  11. Our Paul says:

    It is that time of the year, when a slip of the lip will elicit a well placed cheep shot, to wit:

    But, yeeks, this isn’t the news he wanted coming out of the grand opener.

    Neither was the score James!

    Go big Blue!!!

  12. James Joyner says:

    Neither was the score James!

    True dat. Still, losing on a last-second field goal to a Super Bowl contender is understandable. (Although, basically giving the game away with turnovers, not so much.) Overselling seats in a publicity stunt is embarrassing.

  13. Herb says:

    You’re probably not bringing national TV exposure and hundreds of thousands of tourists in, either.

    Well there’s two (not very compelling) excuses for Jerry Jones’s reliance on public assistance. Talk about a welfare queen…