Dallas Mavericks

Cuban says stadium, fan issues put Cowboys in a tough spot

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, attended Sunday’s NFL game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans and came away having empathy for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

In the Cowboys’ three home games this season, it appeared there were as many fans of the visiting teams as there were Cowboys fans. The noise level was so high — in favor of the visiting teams — it was as though the Cowboys were playing on the road.

It’s a problem Cuban is glad he doesn’t have to deal with.

“When I first bought the Mavs, we’d have more [Los Angeles] Lakers and [San Antonio] Spurs fans at [home] games than Mavericks fans, and it would kill me,” Cuban said. [Jones is] in a tough situation.

“It would kill me, but I don’t have $1.2 billion to pay for.”

From Cuban’s perspective, Jones is not sitting in the best of positions. If he lowers ticket prices, more Cowboy fans might attend the games instead of what amounts to selling their tickets for a profit.

“Jerry’s in a catch-22 in a lot of respects because that’s a very, very expensive building,” Cuban said before Tuesday’s preseason game between the Mavericks and Houston Rockets. “He took one for the team in a lot of respects — I know a lot of people don’t agree.

“He created a landmark they’re going to talk about in the future like they used to talk about the Astrodome as the Eighth Wonder of the World. He put that landmark right in North Texas and right here for all of us to enjoy the benefits from, and part of having to pay for a $1.2 billion building is [high] ticket prices.”

Cuban said he didn’t know what he would do to decrease the number of visiting fans from entering the building if he were in Jones’ shoes.

“I’d have to look at my mortgage and my banker,” Cuban said. “We’ve already paid off the [American Airlines Center] — the $300-something million we had to pay.

“I lowered season ticket prices for 4,000 or more seats by 15 percent this year. After we won the championship [in 2011] I lowered some season ticket prices because other revenues went up.”

And what was the strategy behind that move?

“I don’t do it to try to make a killing [financially],” Cuban said. “I do it because I feel like we’re property of North Texas and Mavs fans everywhere.

“Not every seat is going to be affordable, but I want as many of the seats as possible to be affordable, so I just took a different approach. But I don’t have a $1.2 billion building.”

Cuban noted he can’t speak for Jones on how to rectify a situation that at times on Sunday had Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo going to a silent count so he could get the play off. Romo told reporters after the 20-17 overtime win over the Texans that it felt like a road game.

“When Jerry went out and borrowed $1.2 billion, or whatever it was ... you can’t question anybody who takes that type of challenge, and really the biggest beneficiary is going to be us and North Texas,” Cuban said.

“So I’m not going to give him a hard time about it all. If my back was against the wall ... I’d probably say, ‘OK, you know what, for a year or two, I’d take a lot of revenue.’ ”