What does $1.2 billion buy nowadays? Apparently, an amazing stadium that will change the way you experience events.
As I was leaving the first preseason football game played in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, one of the guys I went with said "that was the best football game I've ever seen." He was wrong; it was, however, probably the best experience he's had at a football game.
I've been to hundreds of professional sporting events. Yet, Jerry and Stephen Jones, HKS Architects, and the rest of the team that built that stadium found a way to surprise and excite me, while exceeding my expectations on almost every level.
Years ago, I read a book called "The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage", which explains that as the world cascades towards sameness, a business can achieve a sustainable competitive advantage by differentiating the experience it provides to its customers. The Cowboys have done that with this stadium.
There's a certain amount of theater, pageantry, and spectacle that you expect from a professional sporting event. Even the word "event" implies that, doesn't it?
Well the Cowboys got it right; and it was larger than life. Watching people as they walked in the stadium, it was amazing to see how many of them said "Wow!" And during the game, I can't tell you how many times I heard somebody say "this is incredible" ... and they weren't talking about the game.
Do You Watch the HD Screen ... Or the Field?
A few weeks ago I wrote about the stadium. This time I'm writing about what it is like to attend an event there. One thing worth noting, the GINORMOUS HD video screen is so clear and so large that it changes how you see the game (I certainly never paid attention to cheerleaders before this, and the video is so clear you can literally read the tattoos on a player's arms during a play). Frankly it was slightly unnerving because I couldn't figure out how best to watch the game. I found myself drawn to the massive video screen rather than the field. I literally had to train myself to watch the play on the field, and then to allow myself to look up to see the replay (often from multiple angles).
You know how some movies whisper "wait for the DVD" while other movies were clearly built for the Big-Screen. This stadium changes how you consume a live event product (like an NFL game), and makes it worthwhile to be there.
It is hard to control what happens on any given Sunday, but with this, the Jones have created a sustainable brand promise and set a new standard.
You've got to experience it for yourself.
My guess is that it will change stadiums around the world. Bravo.
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