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From the WSJ:

No team has hitched its star more closely to the corporate market than the Cowboys. The $1.1 billion Cowboys stadium will hold up to 100,000 fans, the most in the NFL. Fans will enter and exit through 120-foot-tall retractable glass doors at either end zone. The scoreboard alone — a mammoth, 160-foot-long high-definition screen — cost more than $35 million, as much as the entire Texas Stadium, the team’s former home.

Paying for it all are the more than 15,000 premium seats, costing as much as $340 per seat, per game. When the team broke ground in April, 2006, the stadium was designed to have 200 luxury suites; Mr. Jones added another 100 during construction.

The article ropes in the Yankees’ and Mets’ new stadiums, which may actually be fair; neither has gone quite as over the top as the Cowboys, but baseball teams inherently have several times as much inventory as football teams. The Cowboys have to sell 100,000 tickets to eight games (ten if you include the preseason), but the Yankees will be trying to sell 52,000 to eighty-one games.

But Jeff Wilpon makes one big point here, that the article mentions only in passing: “I’d rather be opening up a new stadium in this economy than trying to sell seats in the old Shea.” Exactly. If the prices have to come down on some unsold ticket inventory, so be it. All three of these teams will be making much more than they did last season, even if it’s not quite what it could have been. And as far as the investment, these things tend to pay for themselves very quickly (from the team’s perspective, if not for the governments that helped build them).

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

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