Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

An Inside Look at AT&T Stadium

Posted on December 24, 2018 by Martin Banks

Back in the early 2000s, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones dreamed up a new stadium that would be home to the Cowboys, as well as serving as an entertainment destination. In 2009, that vision became a reality with the opening of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Today, the massive facility hosts college bowl games, concerts and, of course, the Dallas Cowboys.


AT&T Stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world and the biggest NFL venue. It has more than 3 million square feet of space and has a capacity of about 100,000 fans. In total, the overall site covers about 140 acres. The stadium also has more standing-room-only space than any other NFL facility, with 180,000 square feet of free space.

Budget projections initially estimated building the stadium would cost about $650 million, but the actual construction came in at $1.2 billion. That hefty price tag makes it one of the most expensive sports facilities in the world.


The Cowboys’ stadium is, of course, a destination for sports fans, but it’s also a great place to visit if you love architecture. Architectural firm HKS designed the stadium, and Cascade Architectural built it.

It features a retractable roof that measures approximately 660,800 square feet. Among its most striking features are two arches, which stretch 292 feet above the field. Each arch is 1,225 feet long and weighs 3,255 tons. The facility also features the world’s largest retractable end zone doors. Each door’s opening is 120 feet high and 180 feet wide. The doors feature five 38-foot, clear-glass panels that can open or close in 18 minutes.

Interior Features

Another remarkable aspect of AT&T Stadium is its technology. It features the world’s largest 10800p HDTV, which measures 11,200 square feet. In total, it has more than 3,000 Sony LCDs. If you added together all the video displays in the stadium, you’d have about 25,000 square feet of screen.


The art inside the stadium adds another captivating visual element and includes colossal murals, striking digital displays and unique 3D art installations. One example is Blue Field Explosions, a wall drawing by artist Gary Simmons, which is a somewhat abstract visualization that brings to mind a big hit on the field. A piece by artist Jim Campbell features an array of LED lights that flicker to show memorable plays from Cowboys games.

Big Events

In addition to Cowboys games, the stadium hosts lots of other big-name events. Events regularly held there include the University Interscholastic League state finals and the U.S. National Team International Bowl, as well as the Advocare Classic and Advocare Showdown, two of the most significant NCAA football games of the season.

AT&T Stadium has also accommodated several other major events. In February 2010, the stadium hosted the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, which set a record for the most attended basketball game ever. In February 2011, it hosted Super Bowl XLV. In January 2015, it hosted the College Football Playoff National Championship. It was also the location of the 2009 and 2010 Big 12 championship games. In 2018, AT&T Stadium hosted the NFL Draft. The stadium has also hosted many other college football games, basketball games, soccer games, boxing events, concerts and more.

Reading about AT&T Stadium is one thing, but if you want to see it for yourself, you can book a tour for between $17 and $35, or go see a Cowboys game.

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