Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jones, Cuban hoping to break 100,000
By Tim MacMahon ESPNDallas.com
Cowboys Stadium has hosted only one basketball game -- Texas vs. North Carolina on Dec. 19 -- but is expected to hold more than 90,000 fans for the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 14.
DALLAS -- The NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium will shatter the attendance record for a basketball game as the league said a crowd of more than 90,000 is expected.
But whether it will reach the grand goal of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is the question.
Mike Bass, the NBA's senior vice president of marketing, said a crowd of more than 90,000 is expected for the Feb. 14 game. That would shatter the record for attendance at a basketball game, which was set when a crowd of 78,129 watched Michigan State play Kentucky at Detroit's Ford Field on Dec. 13, 2003.
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Jones, who partnered with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to bring the All-Star Game to North Texas, has a little higher goal. He is determined for the crowd to reach six figures.
"Well, we want to push the magical number and we think we have an opportunity here," Jones said before the Dec. 19 Texas-North Carolina college game, which served as a test run for the All-Star Game. "We're well along the way right now: one-double-0."
The record crowd for an All-Star Game is 44,735, set at the Houston Astrodome in 1989.
A crowd of 105,121 attended the Cowboys' first regular-season game in the $1.2 billion stadium, which features 60-yard-long high-definition screens that will be directly over the basketball court. That six-figure crowd drew concern from the Arlington fire marshals and public safety officials, prompting the Cowboys to limit the number of standing-room-only tickets sold in later games.
However, the setup for basketball features thousands of seats where the football field is for Cowboys games.
"If the NBA will let it go to 95," Cuban said, "there's no reason why it can't go to 100."
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.