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Saturation in Dallas
Tex Maule
October 10, 1960
The dollars flow like blood in Texas' pro war, and the winner will be the one who loses least
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October 10, 1960

Saturation In Dallas

The dollars flow like blood in Texas' pro war, and the winner will be the one who loses least

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X-RAY OF THE GAMES

 

Pts.

Yds.
Rush.

Yds.
Pass.

Pass
Comp.

Colts vs.
Bears

42
7

85
160

290
158

14-27
12-29

Packers vs.
Lions

28
9

255
69

109
203

7-17
18-32

Giants vs.
Cardinals

35
14

137
107

256
115

19-33
8-27

Browns vs.
Steelers

28
20

132
110

308
296

10-14
16-23

49ers vs.
Rams

13
9

137
102

147
97

13-24
12-18

Eagles vs.
Cowboys

27
25

162
154

139
194

11-24
10-29

When the Dallas Texans played the New York Titans in the Cotton Bowl last week, they were watched (for free) by a large number of barbers in white jackets, a much larger number of kids in free, white Texan T shirts, several thousand high school students who had attended a high school game the previous Friday night and a few paying customers, some of whom got in on cut-rate tickets by virtue of having purchased groceries or the right brand of cigarettes or potato chips.

It all added up to 37,500 spectators and what Texan Owner Lamar Hunt, engaged in a battle with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, calls exposure.

"That's what we need this year," Hunt, representing the rival American Football League, said recently. "Exposure. We have to change the football habits of the people here, so we have to induce them to come to our games however we can."

"Exposure," said an irritated official of the Cowboys, "can kill people." The Cowboys have adopted the novel policy of asking spectators to pay to see their games. Only youngsters get in free. Five kids are admitted to the end zone with each adult general-admission ticket purchased. As a consequence, the Cowboys are consistently outdrawn by the Texans AFL entry but the Cowboy money gate is as consistently ahead of the Texans.

One Dallas critic, indulging the Texas penchant for the vivid if vaguely familiar image, said last week: "They are fighting for survival knee-deep in a sea of red ink." It is unlikely that the red sea will part for either club in the near future; pro football has never been profitable for two teams in a single city.

Contributing to the financial woes of the pro clubs is the cloying flood of football which inundates this city on a typical weekend. Recently, from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, 750,000-odd people in Dallas (pop. 800,000) saw a football game of one kind or another. Six high school games on Friday night drew 44,000. Two small college games in the vicinity totaled 14,500, and an estimated 625,000 watched three TV games—a college game on Saturday afternoon and two NFL pro games on Sunday afternoon. During the weekend, the Cowboys played the Pittsburgh Steelers before 30,000 in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday night, and the Texans played the Los Angeles Chargers before 42,000 on Sunday afternoon. SMU, a regular Saturday afternoon attraction in Dallas, was away losing to Ohio State.

These figures for the pro games were gross attendance and included all the paper. Neither team came close to breaking even financially; only owners as wealthy as the Texans' Lamar Hunt and the Cowboys' Bedford Wynne and Clint Murchison Jr. could hope to survive a year as financially debilitating as this one will be.

The two sets of owners are well matched in resources. A story (probably apocryphal) has it that a friend called Lamar's father, H. L. Hunt, reported to be one of the richest men in the world, and told him, "I'm worried about Lamar. He's going to lose a lot of money in this professional football."

"How much?" asked the elder Hunt.

"I figure about a million dollars this year," said the friend.

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