Amidst the gushing celebration of Jerry Jones‘ new Cowboy Stadium was a rather curious contention: that the stadium packed enough people into the SRO areas to break the all-time NFL record for attendance. While that figure may or may not have been met, we do know that simply looking at ticket sales isn’t going to tell the whole story about how many people were actually in the stadium.
That’s because, according to Cowboys fan Hector Murillo (seen above) and thousands of others, the Cowboys locked them out of the stadium, despite the fans holding “party passes.” Oh, just because you bought a ticket to the game doesn’t mean you get to watch inside the place; you hadn’t heard?
Hundreds of Cowboys “Party Pass” holders say they didn’t get to see a live game Sunday night, despite paying for parking and $29 for a standing-room-only ticket.
In fact, the gates at one section wouldn’t even open, and fans were pounding on the doors to get the attention of people inside.
This does bring up a rather complex question of what it means to “watch a live game,” since most of the people in the SRO decks couldn’t actually see the game itself, just the big screens above the field that carried the same feed as the screens on the outside. The differences, other than the status of being on the premises, aren’t great. But moving on…
The Cowboys say they sold 30,000 “Party Passes” at last night’s record-breaking attendance game. 15,000 fans were supposed to watch inside on six different decks, while the rest were supposed to be outside, watching on giant monitors.
Fans say that was never made clear to them.
Yes, we’d imagine that there’s a substantial difference in demand for a $29 ticket that seemingly guaranteed a spot inside the building for the Cowboys’ stadium opener… and a $29 ticket that may or may not actually get you in the door. We’re pretty sure the Cowboys didn’t put forth much effort getting that message out when it came time to promote the event. “Come watch the game! …maybe!”
At the very least, the Cowboys would be wise to provide a little more explanation than “we didn’t plan on selling twice as many SRO tickets as we could allow inside the building but we did it anyway,” or maybe even offer reduced prices to those with “Party Pass” stubs for the next game - as if that’d clear the congestion.
Either way, for the estimated $870,000 the Cowboys made on the passes alone (to say nothing of the beer and concession sales in those areas) it seems like the reputation of “actively screwing over the less affluent fans” is something the franchise should work to avoid. If not, how many of those fans left outside are going to stay loyal? Let’s hope the Cowboys keep that question rhetorical.