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Saturday, March 30, 2013
Where Jones builds, success follows

By Jean-Jacques Taylor
ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's okay if you still want to shake your head at Laura Miller's dumb decision to let Jerry Jones take his stadium to Arlington. You can add former Dallas County judge Margaret Keliher, too. Neither had any vision.

Too worried about today to see tomorrow. Too afraid to use public money and have their name linked to it just in case the stadium deal didn't turn out to be a positive.

Mike Rosario
Cowboys Stadium, site of this year's South Regional, will host the 2014 Final Four.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

You can call Jerry Jones a failure as a football GM, if you choose. Based on the past 17 seasons, it's hard to argue.

You can rag on him for giving quarterback Tony Romo more guaranteed money than Joe Flacco, who earned a Super Bowl ring last month.

But he is a marketing genius. No other owner in any of the three other major sports is even close.

Never bet against Jerry when it comes to making money and marketing.

Cowboys Stadium has been open for less than four years, and it has already hosted a Super Bowl, an NBA All-Star weekend and an NCAA regional in addition to various other events.

It will probably get the BCS Championship game following the 2014 season, and next year the Final Four is coming to Arlington, which is 25 miles west of Dallas. Imagine all those consumer dollars being spent in downtown Dallas. The revitalization would be complete by now.

Instead, Arlington prospers, and It will continue to prosper, because Jerry World is a terrific spot to host any round of games for the NCAA tournament.

Cowboys Stadium will do for Arlington and North Texas what the Superdome has done for New Orleans.

The combination of the glitz and glamour of Jerry's $1.2 billion stadium, his marketing savvy and penchant for Texas hospitality will always make the stadium alluring.

PODCAST
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.

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No event representative or sponsor who comes here will ever leave without having a good time. That means plenty of new events and plenty of repeat business.

There's a reason why a team with a 128-128 record since 1997 is the second-most valuable franchise in American professional sports, trailing only the New York Yankees.

Jerry World's first NCAA regional, which concludes Sunday when the Florida-Michigan winner advances to the Final Four, has been a success.

The most impressive aspect of Jerry World as a basketball venue is that it manages to create a fairly cozy environment even with only 42,000 fans in an arena capable of hosting 100,000.

That's because the court is raised in the middle of the field, making it one of only four raised courts in the country.

"It's open. It's a lot different than any arena we played in," Florida Gulf Coast's Chase Fieler said before their loss to Florida. "Even if you make the big plays, it's hard to get a good angle on that TV, you have to stand right on the edge. We'll have to run more towards the sideline to see it.

While the fans aren't that close to the court, the dome does a good job of holding noise and making it loud. As Michigan rallied from a 14-point deficit in the final 6:50 against Kansas on Saturday, the dome reverberated with noise.

And the huge video boards -- the biggest spans 60 yards -- allows fans in the cheap seats to get an up-close view of the action on the world's biggest high definition TV.

Some folks, of course, wonder why anyone would go to an arena and pay money to watch a game on TV. It simple, really.

You can't get the game's ambiance in a man cave. Your adrenaline pumps faster and longer at a venue where your body feeds off the crowd's emotion.

The folks who watched the games at Jerry World understood that. So does everyone who takes in an event at Jerry World.

Everyone leaves impressed. It's Texas big with a personality to match. And it's going to make Arlington one of the epicenters of the sports world.