Dallas Cowboys

Why AT&T Stadium doesn’t always feel like home for Cowboys fans

There were plenty of opposing fans at AT&T Stadium when the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-7 on Sunday.
There were plenty of opposing fans at AT&T Stadium when the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-7 on Sunday. AP

Cowboys fans should be sick of seeing Eagles green at AT&T Stadium by now.

On the field, the NFL’s best team came to Arlington on Sunday and thumped the home team 37-9. Off the field, there were plenty of green jerseys in the stands. Moments before some of the most pivotal plays, the cheers from Philly fans were surprisingly audible.

So how were fans of a divisional rival able to swallow up such a healthy number seats?

The root of the problem might reside in the high cost of personal seat licenses, the fees the Cowboys charge just for the right to buy a season ticket.

Those PSL agreements are required for every season ticket. Prices at the online reseller STR Marketplace range from $2,450 for a seat in the nosebleed section to $200,000 on the club level. There is a waiting list to buy them through the Cowboys, who also offer financing over 29 years at 8 percent.

Season tickets range from $700 to $3,600 for 10 games (eight regular season, two preseason). Then, fans must account for parking (ranging from $30 to $100) as well as the concessions, which include $9 beers, $6 hot dogs and $5 soft drinks.

The hefty premium has forced many Cowboys fans to sell tickets for at least a few games, no matter who the buyer might be. The result can be a home field filled with rivals’ fans. The Cowboys are 36-34 in regular-season games at AT&T Stadium.

“There are a lot of Eagles fans, but there are a lot of enemy fans that seem to come in here too,” said Eagles fan Shane Hensley, a Texas resident whose brothers coerced him into picking a favorite team other than the Cowboys when they moved from Montana at an early age.

“People seem to sell a lot of tickets here. The cost of the PSL is too high.”

Thousands of seats are listed for sale on StubHub for Thursday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Chargers. As of Tuesday afternoon, the get-in price was $6 for standing room only. Club-level prices topped $700.

Mark Wilson and his son, Robert, have owned Cowboys season tickets since 1967. Back then, Mark said, their tickets were just $5 per game.

Since the stadium opened in 2009, the two have shared their season-ticket package with two other fans to ease the financial burden.

When no one can make a game, they look to sell to friends and family. But the Wilsons said they know plenty of fans who try to get the highest return for their tickets in the secondary market.

Many of them have covered a good chunk of their yearly costs by selling their tickets to fans of popular teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, they said.

“We’re not in it to make money ... the good games that we could make money on, we want to go to those games,” Mark said. “So it’s been rare that we’ve sold the tickets.”

In 2016, CBS Money Watch estimated the average cost of attendance for a single game at AT&T Stadium to be $268.28 per person, third-highest in the NFL, behind San Francisco and Washington.

“It’s much more commercialized at this stadium, but that’s the way everything is going these days,” Robert Wilson said. “It feels like more of an event as opposed to back in the day when we would go. It was more tradition and family.”

Travis Andres, whose family owns a suite for their company business, has noticed the change as well.

“It’s hard not having a true home-field advantage,” he said. “There’s a lot of loud cheering for the other team. It’s not like the 12th Man or anything here.”

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