Politics & Government

It’s official: UNT, Dallas Cowboys go forward with plans to partner up

The Dallas Cowboys trademark star
The Dallas Cowboys trademark star Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Dallas Cowboys and The University of North Texas are proceeding with their plans to team up.

After months of negotiations, officials formally announced Tuesday that they are forming a partnership — the cost of which could top the $1 million mark — to bring students unique academic and athletic jobs with the world-renowned football team.

“We believe our new partnership with the Dallas Cowboys will increase awareness of UNT and we’re excited about the educational opportunities our students will have interacting with one of the top sports franchises in the world,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said in a written statement.

In May, the University of North Texas Board of Regents agreed to move forward with negotiations to let the college become a sponsor and exclusive higher education partner with the Dallas Cowboys.

UNT officials at the time said they didn’t know how much the partnership could cost, but agreed that a multi-year deal could easily top the $1 million mark.

And they did note that no tuition, fees or legislative money would be involved in any partnership with the Cowboys.

No dollar amounts were released Tuesday; few new details were provided about the partnership.

Dallas Cowboys officials didn’t immediately respond to a Star-Telegram request for comment.


Officials have noted that this proposal would be two-fold — one part involving advertising and promotions and another a public-private partnership.

UNT board documents have shown 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.

Marketing, digital retailing, information technology and data analytics are other areas where students could be involved.

Another perk is that the new Cowboys team headquarters at The Ford Center at the Star in Frisco is not far from UNT’s New College at Frisco, which opened in January.

Officials 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.

“The promotional program provides UNT a significant presence at AT&T Stadium, and The Star, the Cowboys World Headquarters, along with the Ford Center at the Star,” according to the UNT statement.

‘Diverse aspects’

Marketing, digital retailing, information technology and data analytics are other areas where students could be involved.

At the same time, the Dallas Cowboys would be involved in UNT classroom and lecture activities, officials say.

“There is a natural alignment between many of UNT’s academic programs and the diverse aspects of the Cowboys multifaceted organization,” according to the statement released by UNT Tuesday.

“These alignments will give the Cowboys access to some of the best-trained critical thinkers and business leaders of tomorrow in many fields — and UNT students will receive valuable experience that will better prepare them for successful careers,” according to the statement.

A UNT-Cowboys partnership doesn’t prevent other colleges from advertising at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington or The Ford Center at the Star. But officials have said being the exclusive higher education partner with the team would give UNT extra benefits.

The UNT System has four universities: UNT in Denton, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, UNT Dallas, in Dallas and the UNT College of Law in Dallas.

“As UNT increases its visibility throughout Texas and around the world, we are glad to partner with such a prominent organization,” Smatresk said.

This article includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley