Playoff T-shirt: $15
Playing like the ’Boys: Priceless.
The priceless dream of playing like America’s favorite team will come true for the Stephenville Yellow Jacket varsity football team Friday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
The excitement and enthusiasm from players, students, coaches, parents and fans is, quite literally, through the roof. But what is the price tag to play like the Dallas Cowboys, even if only for one game? The Empire-Tribune did a little digging, and a lot of number crunching for area residents who may be surprised by the final figure.
Cowboys Stadium costs $8,500 per school per game, regardless if one, two or four games are played during the time it is rented.
The cost covers the rental of the 98,210 square-foot football field, locker rooms, use and operation of the jumbotron and scoreboard, ticket takers and security, Stephenville Assistant Athletic Director Mike Carroll said.
“They will keep all of the parking (proceeds) and 100 percent of concessions,” Carroll said.
Carroll said he believes the $8,500 price tag is a one-time fee from the stadium, but he will not be sure if additional costs could be incurred until signing a final contract.
“Every stadium is a little different,” Carroll said.
Burleson Stadium, where the Yellow Jackets played Thursday night, charges a rental fee of $2,000 for use of the facility. However, Burleson Independent School District also charges 15 percent of the gross ticket sales, not to exceed $5,000.
At $5 per ticket, if 10,000 people attended a football game at Burleson Stadium, it would cost the school district an estimated $7,500 - only $1,000 less than Cowboys Stadium.
Burleson, like Cowboys Stadium, also retains a $3 parking fee per vehicle on game day.
Other stadiums, most within an hour of Stephenville, charge similar fees to Burleson Stadium, all with a varying gross ticket sales percentage. The only stadium the Jackets have rented for playoffs that does not take a percentage of sales is Northwest Independent School District Stadium in Justin.
Northwest, which is where the Aledo Bearcats defeated Little Elm Friday night, charges $3,500 for a turn key operation, Director of Athletics Gary Prescott said. The only items necessary for a game that are not provided are referees and chain personnel.
Regardless of initiating a price with another athletic director or Jerry Jones’ employees, a facility to host a playoff game is a topic of discussion each year at Stephenville Independent School District.
“We budget money for travel for football playoff games basically the same every year based on what we have done the previous year,” Superintendent Darrell Floyd said. “(The amount spent) may vary depending on how far we go in the playoffs.”
Floyd said the game, which is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m., could very well draw an additional crowd from locals in Arlington and surrounding towns for two reasons, which would benefit Stephenville ISD greatly.
“I think we will have a lot of people show up to that game to watch Aledo and Stephenville - not only to watch a good football game but also to experience Cowboys Stadium in a (less expensive) fashion than a Cowboys game,” Floyd said.
Even with a crowd of 20,000 plus, the most enthusiastic fans present will be the hometown folks, who are already chomping at the bit for Friday’s arrival.
“There is great excitement among the student body to have that experience,” Floyd said. “I think it will be a great experience for our kids and our fans. It is something all of them would otherwise not get to experience.”
And no other individuals in the student body could be more anticipatory than those who will grace the field.
Stephenville Athletic Director and Head Coach Joseph Gillespie officially informed his team Friday morning that if Aledo won the teams would play at Cowboys Stadium.
Gillespie said the discussion had been ongoing for several weeks between Aledo Head Coach Tim Buchanan and himself.
“We know that it is going to be a big game and we are going to need a fairly large venue,” Gillespie said.
While Gillespie said the teams may not need a venue that will seat more than 100,000 spectators, it will add to the atmosphere of the playoff showdown.
“(The boys) are extremely excited. Who wouldn’t be excited to compete at Cowboys Stadium?” Gillespie said. “I can only speak for myself, but I know I am not going to step in there too many times unless it is to coach a high school football game.”
The experience is not just about the football team either, he said.
“This is going to be huge for everybody. I think it will be a neat experience for all our kids, not just football (players),” Gillespie said. “It is going to be a great experience for our community - our drill team, cheerleaders, band and can fans.”
Gillespie, along with his staff and players, should feel right at home on the field.
After all, competing on a field of champions is something Yellow Jackets have been doing for a long time.
In the late 1990s, the Jackets dueled it out at Texas Stadium often and walked away state champions two years in a row, Gillespie said.
While it isn’t time to talk about a state title yet, Gillespie said his team is ready for its next test, no matter what the setting.
“I know the rumor (of playing at Cowboys Stadium) has been going around, but our motivation (Thursday against Fort Worth Polytechnic) was that it was the first playoff game and we’ve got to take care of business,” Gillespie said. “We don’t want to look ahead of anything, we want to take care of business one game at a time. It is going to be a great experience playing at Cowboys Stadium but the big experience is being in the second round of the playoffs.”
Tickets for Friday’s game will go on sale at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the SHS athletics office. Pre-sale tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and $12 at the gate.