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Cowboys Stadium for country music awards show in 2012?

Posted 5:40pm on Wednesday, Jun. 02, 2010

ARLINGTON — What happens in Vegas may not always stay in Vegas.

According to news reports, the Academy of Country Music is considering moving its annual awards ceremony, which features some of country music's biggest stars, from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington in 2012.

The stadium, located between two great country music institutions — Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth and Gilley's in Dallas, is a fitting spot for the awards show, said Jay Burress, Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau president.

"A country music event should be either in Texas or Nashville, and Nashville already has one. It looks like it's our turn," Burress said.

Bob Romeo, executive director of the Academy of Country Music Awards, told the Las Vegas Sun newspaper in Nevada last month that ticket demands for the show have outgrown the capacity of its current venue, which has about 11,000 seats.

Dallas Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels confirmed Wednesday that ACM executives have visited Cowboys Stadium more than once to scout its potential as an awards site, even before the world's largest domed structure opened last June. The $1.2 billion venue can seat more than 100,000 people.

"I think they are working out how they would host their event since it's so much different at our facility than what they have in Las Vegas," Daniels said.

Burress said the awards show is looking to seat between 55,000 and 60,000 people, which could be a huge boon to Arlington and North Texas economically, and not just for one night.

Besides the thousands of room nights that would be booked for the awards show and related activities, Burress said the event, which draws between 12 million and 15 million television viewers each year, would further "emphasize Texas and North Texas as an entertainment destination."

"It opens up so many opportunities," he added.

Cowboys Stadium has hosted football, soccer and basketball games, as well as various concerts, a rodeo and even Monster Trucks, but it has not been the site of an awards show yet. In July, the stadium will host its first tennis match as well as a University of Phoenix graduation ceremony.

The Academy of Country Music, which generally holds its awards ceremony in the early spring, was founded in Los Angeles in 1964. The show has been held in Vegas the past six years and is under contract to remain there until 2011, according to reports.

Romeo called the move to Cowboys Stadium a 50-50 prospect at the moment, according to the Sun article.

SUSAN SCHROCK, 817-390-7639

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