Dallas Cowboys ‘Party Pass’ Fiasco
In 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.