The welcome mat is out for Dallas Cowboys fans at The Star in Frisco -- even for those without big bucks.
Breaking the mold for NFL practice facilities, this one places the team's home base in the heart of a walkable mixed-use development.
As The Star continues to evolve, the chance encounter with a Cowboys player is likely, said Charlotte Jones Anderson, executive vice president and chief brand officer for the Cowboys.
"They're going to be eating in these restaurants, they're going to be walking out on this field," she said. "Their kids and families will be out here.
"This really is a living, breathing Cowboys brand."
First to open are the headquarters building and practice facilities. The Ford Center at The Star, which the Cowboys will share with Frisco ISD, features a tribute to high school football as fans enter the concourse. Top players and teams in Frisco will be highlighted. The space will also display stats from the high school careers of several current and former Cowboys.
Many of the stadium events will require tickets, but the plaza in front of the stadium invites people to hang out and stay awhile -- for free. High school games inside the stadium will air on the outdoor video board. Movie nights, concerts and even an ice skating rink are among the attractions being planned.
For those able to afford it, the exclusive Cowboys Club offers more intimate access to the team. The club, which sold out its 800 memberships in a matter of weeks last year, opens later this year. The family plan called for a one-time fee of $4,500 plus $350 per month.
The club's terrace overlooks the outdoor fields, and watching practice will be among the main attractions. Members will also have access to private meeting rooms, multiple dining options and the Cowboys Fit facilities, which include a rooftop pool. Among the club's planned attractions are family-themed nights, game rooms, whiskey-tasting and watch parties.
The Cowboys Club also plans to host talks with the coaches and players as well as team executives.
"We'll have a connection to who we are, both from a football connection but also from a leadership and inspirational connection," Anderson said.
Nearby, the Cowboys Fit club will offer Cowboys-themed workouts and state-of-the-art equipment. Those who join the fitness club will also be able to watch the Cowboys cheerleaders train in their studio next door.
Next year the retail and restaurant district will open. Several of the restaurants will have outdoor patios. The area also features the Ring of Honor Walk highlighting the Cowboys' Ring of Honor members and notable community members. Fans can stroll along The Star Boulevard toward the stadium and learn even more about the team through interactive displays.
The Cowboys plan to continue training each year in Oxnard, Calif., but will move a portion of training camp to The Star starting next year. The indoor stadium allows plenty of room for fans eager to get a preseason glimpse at the team.
The Cowboys are also planning to offer behind-the-scenes tours of their football operations, similar to what's offered at AT&T Stadium, where the team plays. The starting point, according to Anderson, will be the "war room" to symbolize the beginning of life as a Dallas Cowboy, which starts when a player gets drafted. Stops might include the team auditorium, the football-shaped locker room and the weight room, where fans might spot their favorite player through the one-way glass.
"The purpose of this project is really to let people experience the sport like they never have and to take that engagement with their team and the community to a level that you just don't have," Anderson said.