As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to celebrate the organization’s 60th birthday, a new partnership will help amplify the party.
The Cowboys announced a partnership with Main Event Entertainment, a social entertainment company with 43 locations in 18 states. To celebrate the Cowboys milestone, Main Event locations in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma will host parties on January 28.
Financial terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed, but Main Event receives a “vast array of marketing rights, benefits and designations that will unmistakably connect the brand with the Cowboys.”
It’s the first such partnership for the Cowboys in the “eatertainment” category, said Eric Sudol, Cowboys vice president of corporate partnership sales and marketing. The category’s growth is a reason the team built its headquarters with an event and retail-dining area at The Star in Frisco.
“We’ve seen the growing emergence of ‘eatertainment’ as a category with consumer demand increasing for these types of experiences and venues,” Sudol said. “Main Event is a leader in the category and we like to partner with the best. Main Event started in Dallas and has been here for the past 21 years. We love to partner with local, Texas-based brands that have a statewide presence and a national reach.”
Main Event could be considered eatertainment or competitive socializing, which is considered “single-game activities like mini-golf, darts or ping-pong, usually with food and adult beverages,” with companies like SPiN and Punch Bowl Social as examples, according to real estate firm JLL. The competitive socializing segment currently makes up 32.1% of the “growing national leisure concepts,” in which JLL counts more than 600 locations across the nation.
Sudol said Main Event’s 18-state reach can help expand the Cowboys brand footprint into a growing segment of socializing amongst younger generations. The Cowboys-themed birthday parties at the venues will also help grow brand affinity in younger generations, Sudol said.
At the Cowboys’ 60th birthday parties, fans can receive a free team jersey by booking a future birthday party, while visitors from 4 p.m. to close will get 60 minutes of free gameplay. Former Cowboy players and Rowdy, the team’s mascot, will make an appearance at the new Grand Prairie, Texas, location.
Main Event’s venues include features like billiards, bowling, arcade games, virtual reality games, laser tag, rock climbing, mini-golf and gravity ropes.
The agreement with the Cowboys is Main Event’s first foray into professional sports partnerships, though the company is currently the family and social entertainment partner of Special Olympics International. Main Event’s sports strategy is meant to link to “the epicenter of culture,” Main Event Chief Brand Officer Sarah Beddoe said.
There is the local tie in Texas to the Cowboys, but also the wider appeal of “America’s Team.”
Main Event has plans to grow to at least 70 locations by 2024 and Beddoe said she expects the brands to explore more partnerships in the future.
“Fans have deep loyalty and passion for their teams,” Beddoe said. “Our guests are active, busy and sports play a major role in their lives. This partnership offers a tremendous opening for us to bring our experience to them in a very engaging way.”
“Along with a very customized Cowboys birthday party experience, the beauty of this partnership is that it enables us to spotlight our fantastic food and beverage business with specials and promotions geared toward the football fan,” she said. “We also can incorporate the Cowboys into our “Winner’s Choice” prize selection, our bowling lanes and our very energized late-night offering.”
Central to the partnership will be Main Event’s ability to host those Cowboys-themed birthday parties and the integration into public appearances at schools by the Cowboys.
The Cowboys also plans to host corporate events, internal team-building outings and alumni player bowling tournaments at Main Event locations.
“This partnership will certainly focus on birthday parties to bring Cowboys fans together, but we also see this as an opportunity for partnership with other corporate partners in the Cowboys family,” Sudol said. “The sky is the limit when you have two innovative brands committed to excellence in entertainment.”