Photo: From left to right: Steve Johnson, President & CEO, HMSHost; Stephen Jones, COO, Dallas Cowboys; Frank Howell, President, F. Howell Services Ltd.; Curtis Ransom, Board Member, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; William Tsao, Board Member, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; and Rowdy, Dallas Cowboys Mascot, officially open the Dallas Cowboys Club. /Photo by John Starkey
Anywhere Rowdy the mascot is found wandering, Dallas Cowboys and cheerleaders are sure to follow. The grand opening of the Dallas Cowboys Club at DFW International Airport in Terminal A was no exception. Guests of the opening and airport passengers alike took pictures and met Rowdy preceding the ribbon cutting on Tuesday, July 21.
The new club marks an even stronger partnership between the Cowboys organization, HMSHost and the DFW International Airport according to the CEO of DFW Airport Sean Donohue.
“This is a great event for the airport,” Donohue said. “We have a longstanding partnership with the cowboys, as well as HMSHost with many, many concessions at the airport.
“The cowboys have several other pro shops in the terminal, they have a gigantic distribution warehouse at the airport as well, and so this is just a continuation of the partnership that we have with the Cowboys.”
Despite several other openings and celebrations including new international flights and aircraft, Donohue was pleased and surprised to find a large number of guests, and attributed the success to the Cowboys.
“Typically, we do this type of event when we’re starting an international service. We’ve had quite a bit of international service inaugurations in the last year or two, and I would say we are actually seeing more media here for this opening than we do when we get flights for China, so I think that says something about the power of the Cowboys brand,” he said.
“As you all know, the Cowboys are one of the most recognized sports brands, not just in the U.S., but globally, and I’d like to share with everyone, we from the airport, usually go on an economic development service mission every year.”
During these trips, Donohue and the members of DFW Airport Board spend time with dignitaries and businessmen and women, and exchange gifts.
“The gift we always bring is a Dallas Cowboys jersey, and we put the name of the dignitary or the business leader on it. Typically that’s the highlight of the event, because they just love the Cowboys jersey, so we’re going to continue to do that because it makes such an impact.
“As you all know the Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, and on their way to more Super Bowl championships – there are parallels to the airport. We have five terminals at DFW Airport and we are actually on the way to more terminals,” Donohue said.
“We’re excited about this partnership; I can’t imagine how this place will look on a game day when the cowboys are playing so it’ll be fun.”
Among Rowdy, Cowboys cheerleaders and former players, Cowboys Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones expressed his excitement for the continuation of successful partnerships and the establishment of a Cowboys venue for those who may not have an opportunity to visit AT&T Stadium.
“These things are so important to us, the Cowboys, and people follow a player like Dez Bryant or Tony Romo. It’s because of the brand,” Jones said. “We are so fortunate to get to partner here today with one of the key brands, and that’s what we like to do is get with key people.
“It’s so important to us because we have so many fans that never get to go to a Cowboy game, and they do travel through DFW and through this airport, but there was a study done that only about five percent of NFL fans have actually attended a football game.
“We think that what we’re doing here with the Dallas Cowboys Club is giving people a taste of it that never get to go to a game.”
Jones praised partner HMSHost and its impressive representation of AT&T Stadium and the Cowboys brand.
“Our partners at Host have done a fantastic job of working with us. We just think this is a special, special place for those who are either on their way out, coming from the DFW area and are maybe going to miss the game or thought they were going to miss the game, but can come in here and really feel like they’re at AT&T stadium,” Jones said.
“I was just looking around for the first time and was blown away by the classiness of this club.”
For Texas native Steve Johnson, the CEO of HMSHost, the club holds personal significance.
“This is exciting,” he said. “I had to leave Dallas in 1989 to move to Washington to work for HMSHost, and I left my home. I get to be back now; I get to be back in DFW, in my home state, opening up the Dallas Cowboys Club.”
“I grew up in Arlington, wanting to play for the Cowboys. That dream never came true. But the next best thing, we get to open a bar with them. How much fun is that?”
Like his partners, Johnson feels the club’s success will be due in large part to its ability to provide an experience similar to that of the stadium and the extension of the Cowboys brand.
“But truly, we have a great experience for people coming through DFW. You get a true local experience; they get to experience the Cowboys, they get to get some fresh food, a beautiful menu, great open design,” he said. “So if you don’t actually get to go to a Cowboys game, you can come here and get the same experience as you would, here at the Cowboys Club.”