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Cowboys Jump to SeatGeek, Leave NFL’s Deal with Ticketmaster

The Cowboys announced on Tuesday that they have opted out of the NFL’s deal with Ticketmaster and have elected to give their primary box office business to ticket reseller SeatGeek, Darren Rovell of ESPN reports.

Terms were not disclosed. The Cowboys also have purchased an undisclosed stake in the company.

“We honestly thought we would continue with Ticketmaster,” said Chad Estis, the team’s executive vice president of business operations. “But we have a commitment to have the best in class and we thought that SeatGeek’s technology from a fan standpoint and the ease of use and flexibility on the back end with our folks internally made this deal the right one.”

The Cowboys aren’t the first team to opt out of the Ticketmaster deal. The Detroit Lions switched primary ticketing to Veritix for the 2013 season but will return to Ticketmaster for the 2018 season. The Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, who signed with SeatGeek in November, will be the only teams not currently part of the league deal.

The move is consistent with the history of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who famously struck deals with Pepsi and American Express in the 1990s, when the league had deals with Coca-Cola and Visa. The NFL sued but eventually dropped the case.

In 2002, Jones became only the owner to opt out of the NFL’s licensing deal, which split revenues equally. Jones felt that the Cowboys contributed a disproportionate share and sought to be rewarded by going on his own to distribute and choose where he wanted the Cowboys gear to be sold. Sixteen years later, the Cowboys are still the only team that does that.

“The financials had to be right, but we also have an owner who isn’t afraid to take a little risk,” Estis said of the SeatGeek decision. “We expect there could be a bump or two along the way.”


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