We’ve come to know AT&T stadium as Jerry World. What, then, are we to call The Star in Frisco? The place is so faithfully and totally saturated in Cowboys branding that it seems to go a step beyond theme park. Is it Friendship-Jerry North? Jerrymark Community?
Next month brings the opening of the newest attraction at the mega-size Cowboys sanctuary. It’s a gym called Cowboys Fit, and, like everything at The Star—from the practice fields to the hotel to the restaurant to the office and retail space—it’s pitched as something much more than what it is because, well, the Cowboys.
To be fair, Cowboys Fit is a lot. Its 60,000 square feet, spread over three floors, will be filled with the same workout apparatuses that the team uses. Too, there are indoor and outdoor ride rooms, nutrition bars, a heated rooftop pool, and a recovery lounge with cryotherapy. Best of all, an enormous glass wall separates Cowboys Fit from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders’ dance studio, “giving members a live, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to train like one of America’s Sweethearts.” We can only imagine what it takes to train like someone who is watching America’s Sweethearts train. A recovery lounge would certainly come in handy.
Credit for the Cowboys Fit spectacle, in part, belongs to its charismatic CEO, Johnny de la Valdene. The SMU grad and serial entrepreneur sold a chain of gyms called the Fitness Factory in the 1990s before co-inventing the Marshmallow Shooter, a toy that is exactly what it sounds like and has sold millions. But de la Valdene’s sales pitch here promises—or leans toward promising—something far more fantastic than cheerleaders in a glass box and far harder to deliver: real-life, in-the-flesh Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys Fit advertises the fact that current Cowboys get free memberships and former Cowboys get hefty discounts. Will Dak Prescott appear on the treadmill adjacent to yours? Probably not. But
Of course, none of this is what Cowboys Fit is really selling, and that’s the secret genius behind Jerry Jones’ vision for The Star. Like Walt Disney before him, Jerry knows that what he is marketing is a dream. It is the possibility that one day, mid-workout, while taking a break between reps, you might wander past the large windows that overlook the team’s practice fields and feel, even if only for a fleeting moment, like you have woken up inside your childhood fantasy—like you really do belong to the world of the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s a feeling that is priceless. Or, in this case, for a family membership, $199 up front and $128 a month.