Tout Riderville is abuzz with the rumour that renegade Dallas sports franchise owners Jerry Jones (who helms the NFL’s Cowboys) and Mark Cuban (who owns the NBA’s Mavericks) are scheduled to fly into Regina later today to discuss the possibility of joining forces to build a $760 million domed stadium in the heart of downtown Regina. The stadium, which would be the new home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, would be modelled on the $1.3 billion gem (pictured) Jones built in Arlington, Texas to house his beloved ‘Boys. It opened in 2009.
Like the dome that local movers and shakers like Regina Chamber of Commerce head honcho John Hopkins, Rider CEO Jim Hobson and the Regina Hotel Association have been championing, Cowboys Stadium features a retractable roof. Because of the longer CFL field and endzones, the proposed Regina dome would actually occupy more land than Cowboys Stadium. That would boost construction costs somewhat, but that would be offset by cost savings arising from the Regina dome’s smaller size (39,000 seats vs. Cowboy Stadium’s 80,000). As well, the giant HDTV that hangs above the field (which in Arlington stretches nearly 60 yards from one 20-yard line to the other) wouldn’t be quite so big.
When contacted, officials for both Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall declined to comment on whether the rumour is true. If it is, then Jones and Cuban are supposed to fly into Regina International Airport on the latter’s private jet this afternoon to discuss specifics of the proposed project.
In building Cowboys Stadium, Jones received significant financial assistance from Arlington taxpayers. Jones and Cuban are expected to seek similar concessions from the municipal and provincial governments before committing to a deal here.
Still, the duo are said to be keen on the idea of building the stadium. Not only are they anxious to become players in Saskatchewan’s booming economy, they’re also salivating at the prospect of exploiting the natural marketing tie-in between the Cowboys, who have long been dubbed “America’s Team” because of their popularity state-side; and the Riders, who enjoy similar popularity among CFL fans in Canada.
Stay tuned for more on this story as the day unfolds.