Saturday, April 12, 2008

Jerry Jones, Cowboys Stadium, AT&T, Arlington, and Eminent Domain

I was in a great mood, despite having to work most of the day Saturday.

I was going to come home, relax, sit on the deck with liquid refreshments and read.

But about an hour before leaving work, I went to the convenience store across the street and saw this headline in my beloved Star-Telegram:

Dallas Cowboys think 'AT&T Field' has a nice ring to it
Star-Telegram staff writers

Well, there went those plans. Jerry Jones and the City of Arlington have used Eminent Domain to kick people out of their homes, and that has made me a little nuts on this subject.

The Dallas Cowboys are in serious discussions with AT&T Corp. to name their new $1 billion stadium AT&T Field, according to a document obtained by the Star-Telegram.

If there were any justice in the world, AT&T would stand for "Arlington Targeted & Taken".

The deal would include "media rights," which would allow the Cowboys and AT&T to almost exclusively distribute Cowboys content on local television, radio, Internet and wireless devices, according to the document. The dollar value and length of a potential deal were not specified....

Partial disclosure: When wireless home telephones first came on the market (20 years ago?), we bought one from AT&T. Approximately 15 minutes after the warranty expired, the #9 button stopped working on the phone unless you hit it at a precise angle. If you didn't press #9 properly the first time, you had to disconnect and start over. It was infuriating. If there was a 9 in the phone number, I would sometimes call friends who didn't have a #9 in their number and ask them to dial the number and have the person call me.

AT&T's phone stores refused to give me a refund.

But this was during the glory days of phone deregulation, and we got tons o' calls from AT&T after we dropped their excuse for phone service. Any time their telemarketers called, I would ask for an $80.00 refund for my phone. They would claim that phone sales were a different branch of the company. Like that matters.

Mrs. Whited Sepulchre gets frustrated whenever I bring it up. It was, after all, 20 years ago.

That year for Christmas, our in-laws had pity on us, and got us a new phone. Also made by AT&Freakin' T. Within one year, the #9 on this one stopped working.

(The reason why is explained in detail by Henry Petroski in his excellent book "To Engineer Is Human". The numbers we dialed the most had 9's in them, and if the design is inadequate, it's logical that #9 will fail first.)

But, as usual, I digress. Back to the Jerry Jones/AT&T scam:

Sports marketing experts have estimated that the Cowboys could generate $10 million to $18 million per year for a 30-year agreement. As part of the team's lease with the city of Arlington, the city will receive 5 percent of any naming-rights deal, up to $500,000 a year.

That 5% is appropriate, since Arlington is paying for somewhere between 35-50% of the cost of the stadium, depending on cost overruns. There is a long history of shafting taxpayers in these stadium deals, and Arlington should be mindful of that tradition. Throwing a 5% bone to the dogs is appropriate and adequate.

The stadium, under construction in Arlington, is expected to open in the fall of 2009.

I've made no secret here of my love of gambling. I clean up every year by betting that the Cowboys won't win a playoff game. (My theory is a complicated one, involving God, the ego of Jerry Jones, Nemesis, and Hubris....)

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said he has not been told that a name has been picked. But he said he had "heard some time ago that they were talking to AT&T and Verizon for naming rights."
If it is AT&T Field, Cluck said he was "OK with that. AT&T is a solid company."

As long as you don't buy their dang telephones. I know, I know, it was more than 20 years ago. I should get over it. But this feels so good. I think the psychologists and talk-show hosts call this "closure".

Industry experts have been watching for a Cowboys naming-rights deal, speculating that it could rival the most expensive deal to date: the New York Mets' 2006 contract with Citigroup that totaled $400 million over 20 years. Adding media rights into the mix enhances the value of a potential Cowboys deal....

Does anyone besides me see a deeper meaning in the significance of AT&T sponsoring the stadium? A meaning that might only be visible to degenerate gamblers?

According to the document, the Cowboys will use "reasonable efforts" to have a street near the stadium named AT&T Parkway.

AT&T Parkway.....Gag me with a dirty diaper.

Ok, here's my theory. AT&T, Arlington, and Jerry Jones are going in together on this huge stadium in Arlington. If there is any justice in this world, all of them will be punished with another disappointing Cowboy season. Jerry Jones and Arlington have stolen people's homes, AT&T sells phones whose #9 doesn't work. This is my year to make a small fortune betting against The Cowboys.

How do I know this will be yet another failed season?

Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo's jersey number?


And he just got a huge contract extension.

This is the year for their #9 to stop working.


douglas.pentecost said...

well allen, i hear you talking about betting them cowboys caint win a playoff game. well just you wait and see...soon as jerry gets him another running back good as emeinent domain was...the boys will be whupping ass again...yeeeeehawwww!!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I was there when they retired Emmitt Domain's (#22) jersey.
They'll never see another one like him.
And I'm not gonna rest until that stadium is seized by the city, torn down, and replaced by a girls' soccer team that can win playoff games.