FRISCO, Texas – Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones stood at the podium Friday introducing the soon-to-open Ford Center at The Star, the Cowboys World Headquarters' multi-purpose events center. Below, the Frisco Lone Star High School football team became the first group to take the field at the 12,000-seat indoor stadium.
"The very first time any player of any age has put a cleat on the field for this great venue," Jones said. "It's so appropriate."
Appropriate because Jones' vision for the Ford Center embodies the partnership between the Cowboys, the City of Frisco and Frisco ISD: an opportunity to provide an enriching experience for high school students on and off the field.
"I always expressed that when I see the thought of this enterprise, I pictured joining at the hip with high school athletics," Jones said. "I pictured the high school quarterback of Frisco walking on the field to play a game and visiting with Tony Romo, who's walking off the field finishing a practice, and the two chatting about each other's game."
On Saturday, Aug. 27, The Star Kickoff presented by Whataburger will be The Star's first event in the Ford Center. All eight Frisco ISD high schools will play in a sold-out quadruple header.
The teams and coaches first stepped foot on the Ford Center turf Friday and toured the locker rooms and uniforms designed by Nike that the students will wear Aug. 27 when they return to The Star.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we want those kids to take it in and soak it in," Lone Star High School head coach Jeff Rayburn said. "This is something they can remember for the rest of their lives."
The 12,000-seat indoor football stadium will indeed be a place where high school athletes can compete on the same field where the Cowboys train, "but the venue has become much more than that," said Jerry Jones Jr., the Cowboys' executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. "It will be a place that will allow our fans, the community, and of course our partners to experience the Cowboys in ways that have never been done before."
The Cowboys, Frisco ISD and corporate partners Ford, Nike, the Texas Lottery, Whataburger and Panasonic revealed multiple features of the 510,000-square-foot indoor athletic facility that will include unique elements designed to enrich students' success both athletically and academically:
Ford – The Ford Center: The Cowboys will host indoor practices in the stadium while the City of Frisco and Frisco ISD will host all football and soccer games, academic, fine arts and entertainment events in the building. Ford has a long history of recognizing top high school football athletes in Texas through the Built Ford Tough High School Player of the Week Award.
Nike – Apparel & Locker Rooms: Nike is the exclusive apparel provider of Frisco ISD athletics across all sports. Players from all eight high school varsity football teams received a first look at their uniforms for the 2016 season, as well as an exclusive tour of the custom locker rooms designed by Nike.
Texas Lottery – Tribute to High School Football: Commemorating their partnership with the Frisco ISD, the Dallas Cowboys alongside the Texas Lottery created a High School Football Tribute. Located at the front entrance of the Ford Center, the space honors each of the Frisco ISD's high school teams and their respective traditions. As a long-standing supporter of Texas education, the Texas Lottery, in conjunction with the Cowboys, will develop a grant program to fund fitness and physical activity initiatives in Texas' public schools.
Whataburger – Friday Night Stars & Concourse Display: High school football teams will play under the Whataburger Friday Night Stars banner at the Ford Center at The Star. The Friday Night Stars interactive display on the west concourse will highlight local student-athletes' successes both on and off the field. As presenting sponsor of The Star Kickoff, Whataburger will host four back-to-back Frisco ISD games at the Ford Center on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Panasonic – Technology Integration and LED Screens: Panasonic has provided stadium and digital signage solutions throughout The Star, including: 4K and Small Pitch LED displays throughout the facility, an interactive digital display, as well as video boards in and outside the Ford Center. The interior display is 1,824 square feet and the exterior display is 2,270 square feet; the exterior 4K video board will be the largest in high school sports.
"This is a championship venue," Jerry Jones said. "It will inspire not only the students here at Frisco but inspire the Dallas Cowboys."