As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, it would be very easy for me to say that football’s Emperor Palpatine finally has his Death Star, but I would never stoop so low as to make a joke like that. Rather, I’ll just straight out tell you that after four seasons, Cowboys Stadium now has a corporate name with today’s announcement that Tony Romo will soon be throwing clutch interceptions at the newly renamed AT&T Stadium.
Team owner Jerry Jones revealed the new name at a ceremony earlier today, saying the change would be effective immediately and that the AT&T logo would be prominently displayed inside and outside of the stadium. Heck, the Wikipedia page for the place has already been updated to reflect the new name.
Additionally, Legends Drive near the stadium will become either AT&T Blvd. or AT&T Drive.
Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009, a year before the rival NY Giants (who are also evil, as are the Redskins) started playing in their new stadium. However, that venue only lasted one season as the New Meadowlands before being branded with the MetLife name.
The San Francisco 49ers haven’t even finished their new stadium but already have corporate sponsorship from Levi’s, which has been located in the Bay Area since its inception. Much like the Niners/Levi’s regional kinship, the Cowboys and AT&T both call the Dallas area home.
Aside from the fact that not many companies have been leaping at the chance to pay millions for something as frivolous as stadium naming rights, Jones had previously indicated that he didn’t want just any name slapped on the side of his beloved dome, which has already played host to the Super Bowl. He underscored this at today’s announcement by saying that the deal reached with AT&T “is not the most in dollars that there has been for naming rights.”
In an era where naming rights have gone hogwild, there are still a handful of NFL venues without corporate branding. There are the stadiums named for team owners and founders — Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo Bills), Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals), Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers) — then the ones who simply haven’t changed their names over the years — Soldier Field (Chicago Bears), Candlestick Park (the 49ers for one more season), Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs), and the Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons). Then of course there is the silly attempt by the Denver Broncos to have their cake and eat it too with the mouthful stadium name of “Sports Authority Field at Mile High,” which we can’t imagine anyone ever saying in casual conversation.
(NOTE: As a couple of readers have pointed out since this post went up, my alma mater, the University of Virginia, has a football stadium with the insanely long name of — deep breath — “The Carl Smith Center, Home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium,” which is absolutely absurd, but is not technically an example of corporate naming rights, as this triple-dipped venue is named after three individuals who donated large wads of cash. That’s not an excuse, just something worth noting.)