All About Value

Can Dallas Cowboys up their game to justify enormous ticket prices?

Can Dallas Cowboys up their game to justify enormous ticket prices?

Texans vs. Cowboys Oct. 5, 2014 Texans 29 arguing with ref
Dallas fans had the most reasons to cheer as the Cowboys won a thriller over the Texans. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Texans vs. Cowboys Oct. 5, 2014 Dallas 2?
Tony Romo said the crowd noise from Texans fans forced him to use a silent snap count. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Texans vs. Cowboys Oct. 5, 2014 Texans fans with Texans sign in stands
Texans fans who invaded Arlington left AT&T Stadium disappointed as Dallas beat Houston in overtime. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Texans vs. Cowboys Oct. 5, 2014 Texans 29 arguing with ref
Texans vs. Cowboys Oct. 5, 2014 Dallas 2?
Texans vs. Cowboys Oct. 5, 2014 Texans fans with Texans sign in stands

For those who watched the Dallas Cowboys’ thrilling overtime victory against the Houston Texans, it was hard not to notice the overwhelming presence of Houston fans in AT&T Stadium. The scene was so absurd that Tony Romo felt the need to remind Dallas fans to be careful about whom they are selling their season tickets to.

Romo’s frustration is understandable; Houston isn’t the only set of opposing fans to invade the Cowboys’ home turf. Early this season, San Francisco fans pulled the same trick. During past seasons, Bears, Redskins and Packers fans have made AT&T Stadium seem less than hospitable to the Cowboys.

 How can the league’s most valuable franchise for eight straight years have such a problem filling the stadium with friendly fans?

As a Cowboys fan, I can say that this trend is embarrassing. How can the league’s most valuable franchise for eight straight years have such a problem filling the stadium with friendly fans? Perhaps because the average Cowboys season ticket holder doesn’t see any value passed on to them.

According to ticket buying sites like TiqIQ, Dallas has one of the top 10 most expensive average ticket prices in the NFL. The average cost of a single ticket at AT&T Stadium is $322. That means San Francisco fans, who would typically pay $485 to see the 49ers at home, can spring for the airfare to Dallas.

Of course, Bankrate.com says the total cost index for fans pushes the Cowboys into the top five most expensive teams, mostly due to the $75 parking costs, which is $30 more expensive than the next highest team.

This issue was broached five years ago when prices for tickets and seat licenses for the new stadium were announced. It’s just coming to fruition now as more and more Dallas fans choose to stay home and watch the Cowboys game on their own televisions than watch the gigantic Jumbotron in Jerry’s house.  

Yet other teams that have expensive ticket prices don’t seem to have the same kind of trouble with opposing fans as the Cowboys do. Why is Dallas the team that lacks any kind of home field advantage?

Perhaps it’s because no other team has built such a palatial monstrosity as AT&T Stadium. Opposing fans feel it’s worth a trip to Arlington to check out the digs for themselves. Couple that with the fact that Dallas’ robust economy has flooded DFW with job seekers from around the country, and that simply adds more opposing fans to the area.

Maybe it’s just less expensive to fly and get a hotel in Dallas than other places. Then again, it might come down to value, or the lack thereof for a Cowboys fan purchasing tickets.

According to the Washington Times, the teams that rival Dallas for expensive tickets are the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys’ NFC East counterparts in New York, Washington and Philadelphia also make the cut. In addition to having cities with more exciting nightlife and attractions than Arlington, many of the those teams have participated in the playoffs, if not a Super Bowl, in the past five years.

Arlington is known for strip malls, theme parks and no public transportation. Perhaps most telling, the Cowboys are known for winning exactly one playoff game in the past 15 years. Local fans aren’t stupid; they know when they are getting a raw deal. 

Until Jerry Jones starts showing some loyalty to his team’s hometown fans by making the product match the asking price, fans will always be willing to sell their tickets to the highest bidder. With a 4-1 record so far this season, at least things are moving in the right direction.