Art. History. Football. They are not only three terms to describe the Dallas Cowboys, but also The Star and The Ford Center at The Star, the team’s new facilities located in Frisco, Texas. The facilities opened at the end of August and since then have hosted high school football games and Cowboys’ practices. After taking a tour of the complex, it’s impressive to see the Cowboys continue to grow their brand and provide new experiences for fans.
Construction is still ongoing around the complex to complete the Omni hotel, the Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star, and multiple bars, restaurants, and shops that will be Cowboys and/or football themed. The area will be a welcome addition to an already bustling sports scene, which includes Dr Pepper Ballpark and Dr Pepper Arena across the Interstate and Toyota Stadium less than a five minute drive away.
Upon walking into the team’s administrative offices, there is a large, art installation with dozens of blinking lights that flash in various patterns. Underneath the lights, members of the Cowboys Ring of Honor have name plates in the floor including members like Don Meredith. The left side of the office will be available for rent to businesses. It’s a nice setup with many of them garnering views of the football practice fields below. On the Cowboys side of the hall, one can see all five Super Bowl trophies on display as well all five Super Bowl rings, which are mounted in shadow boxes on the wall.
Then there is the press library which houses Cowboys history, ranging from signed helmets to books to Wheaties boxes. The press conference room is down the hall and is decorated with Cowboys photos with notable figures, as well as the first press conference banner. The coolest feature of the room has to be the electronics behind the speaker’s podium. Instead of using banners, it’s electronic so that logos can be changed for various sponsors.
The Cowboys also have their own TV studio that hosts multiple shows each week and is outfitted with the latest technology and camera equipment. The hallways leading down to the Training Grille, the team cafeteria, is lined with memorable moments from years past, a collection of every uniform the team has worn, and team photos. The Training Grille looks like a mini-restaurant with a culinary staff cooking for employees and players every day. The décor down the hallway is a lot of Cowboys’ firsts like the first game program, the story behind how the team got its name, and various logos for teams that could have been like the Rangers.
Continuing down the hallway towards the weight room, is a display for the three Cowboys who have named the NFL Man of The Year. And that leads to the team meeting room, which could easily double as a movie theater by the amount of seats. The players and coaches entrance to the fields is across the hallway. The fields mimic every type of playing surface the team might encounter with an outdoor turf field, grass field, and the Ford Center doubling as an indoor turf field. Down the hall is the team’s weight room with displays for every Super Bowl win leading down to the player’s locker room. The locker room is outfitted with everything a player could want including tons of locker storage including a top cubby that ventilates their pads.
The Ford Center is an impressive 12,000-seat indoor field that the Frisco ISD also utilizes for high school football games. The Cowboys have done several things to make sure the experience is special for local high schools. Several Cowboys’ players have stayed after practice to watch games. Photos taken by high school students adorn the hallways and electronic marquees have high school rosters listed with the player’s stats when fans enter the facility. It gives fans a chance to compare their stats with those of prominent Cowboys players, who have their high school stats and pictures up as well. The Cowboys have built their own war room next to their scouting department, which will probably be used for many draft days to come.
Overall, it’s a beautiful complex with many unique features including everything from world class art installations to the latest technology to showcasing the team’s history in creative ways. And with room to grow, it looks like the Cowboys will be in Frisco for many years to come.
All photos by Jarah Wright.
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