FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys formally announced Tuesday they are moving their headquarters from suburban Irving to suburban Frisco after winning overwhelming approval for a $115 million development that includes an indoor stadium for practice and use by area prep teams.
Accompanied by cheerleaders and city officials, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, made a quick trip home from training camp in Oxnard, Calif., to celebrate with Frisco officials. The multi-use sports facilities, which will be shared with Frisco Independent School District's sports teams, are expected to open in 2016.
"Frisco is a city (that) they think big and they act bold. They have a vision and they act on it," said Stephen Jones. "It gives us great comfort to do business with people who think like this."
The 12,000-seat indoor stadium along with two outdoor training fields will be paid for mostly through a city sales tax, with the school district funding part of the construction. This 25-year deal between the Cowboys and the city was approved late Monday and calls for the football team to manage the facilities, any additional upgrades and pay for operating costs, which is estimated at $1.5 million a year.
"The goal is to be successful. It's very important for the Cowboys to be an example to other companies that are interested in locating in North Texas," Jerry Jones said. "We have always over-performed when it comes to spending money."
The deal calls for the Cowboys to hold training camp at the facility for at least one week per year. District high schools will use the stadium for football games, too.
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said bringing the Cowboys' headquarters was a coup for one of the fastest-growing communities in the country.
"It's never about the building," he said. "It's about the people, the organization and the level of excellence."
School district officials said they were already planning on building a football stadium before signing onto this private-public deal.
"We could in no way duplicate a stadium of this caliber on our own, spending the same amount for construction," said Jeremy Lyon, Frisco ISD's superintendent.
Lyon said the partnership will save taxpayers money in the long run by fronting the constructions costs and letting the Cowboys lease and maintain the facility. School-related events planned at the facility will be paid by the district.
City officials voted on this deal without any public feedback, but said there are no plans to hike taxes.
Matt Armstrong, member of a Frisco tea party group, said the city should have heard residents' feedback before voting on the deal. But he said he understands why this partnership can be good for the city.
"The numbers they showed us last night seem to satisfy everyone that it's a good deal for the city," he said. "But if those numbers are based on faulty projections ... obviously that can be problematic."
Frisco is already the home of the FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, a minor league affiliate of baseball's Texas Rangers and the training facility for hockey's Dallas Stars. It is about 30 miles north of Dallas — and about 45 miles from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
John Classe, a board member with the city who voted for the deal, said FC Dallas had a similar deal to what the Cowboys are getting, with the city funding its stadium but leaving leasing and management costs to the team.
"Just like that deal, it's anticipated that the Cowboys will put more money into the facility above and beyond the city's commitment," Classe said. "Therefore we will end up with a nicer facility."
The 91-acre development includes 25 acres for the Cowboys' facilities, while the remaining 66 acres will be used for stores, restaurants and a luxury hotel. According to city officials, the development will generate $1.26 billion in tax revenue with an estimated economic impact of $23.4 billion over the next 30 years.
This deal ends a four-decade relationship between the Cowboys and Irving.
"We won three world championships (in Irving) we hope to ... replicate that here," Jerry Jones said.