The University of North Texas Board of Regents on Friday unanimously agreed to move forward with talks to let the school become a sponsor and exclusive higher education partner with the Dallas Cowboys — a deal that could easily top the $1 million mark.
If a final agreement is reached, UNT would be able to call itself a “proud partner of the Dallas Cowboys” — and land its students academic and athletic internships with the world-renowned football team.
“We make decisions every year about where to place our advertising dollars,” said Lee Jackson, chancellor of the UNT System. “If this brings value for those dollars, I can’t think of a better place to do it than in a really robust educational and marketing partnership with the Dallas Cowboys.”
UNT officials acknowledge that they don’t know yet how much the partnership could cost — or how many years it might last.
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But a final, multi-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys organization could easily add up to $1 million or more, which is why regents needed to approve moving forward with negotiations.
This could be a great opportunity.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, who serves on the UNT board of regents.
Jackson said a final proposal could come to the board in the next month or two. And officials note that no tuition, fees or legislative dollars would be involved in any arrangement with the Cowboys.
“This could be a great opportunity,” said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, who serves on the UNT board of regents. “We know we have to negotiate this.
“But it’s an exciting day,” he said. “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for our students.”
UNT President Neal Smatresk noted that this proposal would be two-fold — one part involves advertising and promotions and another a public-private partnership.
According to UNT board documents, a multi-year agreement with the Cowboys could include letting UNT: use the Dallas Cowboys star and other logos; present displays in “select event exhibit space”; place radio ads on game days; participate in television commercials; and put ads on the DallasCowboys.com website.
The Cowboys are planning to move the team’s headquarters to The Ford Center at the Star in Frisco this summer, not far from UNT’s New College at Frisco, which opened in January.
Smatrresk said the Cowboys, particularly at the Frisco location, will be involved in a variety of activities where UNT students could benefit from internships in areas ranging from hospitality and broadcast journalism to fitness and sports medicine.
Marketing, digital retailing, information technology and data analytics are other areas where students could be involved.
The idea is a partnership. The principle driver behind it is opening up opportunities for our students.
G. Brint Ryan, chair of the UNT Board of Regents
At the same time, the Dallas Cowboys would be involved in UNT classroom and lecture activities, officials say.
“The idea is a partnership,” said G. Brint Ryan, chair of the UNT System Board of Regents. “The principle driver behind it is opening up opportunities for our students.
“Our hope is if we are able to give students those opportunities, it will increase our enrollment … and elevate our brand.”
UNT, based in Denton, has other campuses, including the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
‘Question of value’
Current negotiations wouldn’t prevent other colleges from advertising at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington or The Ford Center at the Star.
But being the exclusive higher education partner with the team would give UNT extra benefits, officials said.
The Cowboys have declined to comment on the negotiations.
“Usually, when we come to an agreement with a sponsor or partner, we don’t comment until everything is finalized and contracts are signed,” said Rich Dalrymple, senior vice president of Public Relations and Communications for the Cowboys.
UNT officials say a partnership with the Cowboys would have many benefits, including drawing additional attention to UNT’s new off-site instructional teaching facility in Frisco.
It’s a question of value.
Lee Jackson, chancellor of the UNT System
“This to me is a logical extension,” Jackson said. “If we are going to be active in Collin County, … [it’s a good idea to be] tied in with one of the most active, most visible employers.”
“It’s a question of value.”