By Barry Janoff
July 25, 2013: The $1.2 billion stadium known since it opened in 2009 as Cowboys Stadium — and both affectionately and derisively as Jerry's World — has an official new name.
Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, said Thursday that naming rights to home of the Cowboys have been sold to telecom giant AT&T.
Jones, who had been working to sell the naming rights since the stadium opened in 2009, called it, "A very special day in the history of our organization."
Although specific financial details were not released, industry analysts put the naming rights value at between $17--$19 million per year, estimated to be 15-20 years. AT&T Stadium signage is expected to be in place before the start of the 2013 Cowboys season.
"Buying the Cowboys, building and opening this stadium and now announcing this deal have been the highlights of my time with the team off the field," said Jones. "You know that those Super Bowl [victories] are pretty important on the field."
According to Cathy Coughlin, global marketing officer for AT&T, "Dallas is our hometown, and we’re proud to expand our successful relationship with the Cowboys, one of the most visionary sports franchises around."
AT&T already had been a cornerstone partner of the Cowboys and Cowboys Stadium.
In addition to marketing and media, she said the company would continue to invest in improvements to wireless technology in the stadium, the plazas and in parking lots. The change to AT&T Stadium already has been made on the team's and stadium's Web site.
AT&T also has naming rights for the venues for MLB's San Francisco Giants and the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.
Jones said that AT&T reflected the present and future of the stadium and the team. "We want this building to be innovative and to change as new ideas come up," he said. “This is not the most in dollars there has been for naming rights, but this is the best naming-rights relationship."
The $17-$19 million annual payments cited by industry analysts puts the deal puts AT&T Stadium in the neighborhood with MetLife Stadium (home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets) at $17-$20 million; and Citi Field (MLB's New York Mets) at $20 million.
Levi's is paying the San Francisco 49ers $220 million over 11 years for naming rights to the new stadium set to open in Santa Clara, Calif., in 2015. The venue already has been selected to host Super Bowl L.
Farmers Insurance has a deal in place for naming rights to an as-yet unbuilt NFL stadium in Los Angeles that would kick in at $20 million annually, according to analysts, if on-going obstacles — including getting a franchise to relocate to the city — are resolved.
“This is not the most in dollars there has been for naming rights, but this is the best naming-rights relationship."
The venue hosted Super Bowl XLV and could be in the rotation for future Super Bowls. In addition to the Cowboys, AT&T Stadium will host the annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic and the 2014 NCAA Division I men's basketball Final Four.
“AT&T is an iconic American leader that has guided the path of communication in the world for more than 100 years,” said Jones. “Our stadium has always been about providing fans with an unsurpassed experience in the area of technology. With AT&T, we are growing our relationship with one of the world’s strongest and most innovative companies to ultimately provide fans with the latest cutting-edge technology for many years to come.”