(Updated with more video, statement from Arlington official)
The Final Four at AT&T Stadium isn’t over yet, and already the stadium is making an official announcement about its next big thing. And no, it’s not about the Cowboys.
During the 49th Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and George Strait, who has sung a few songs about cowboys, extended an invitation to fans to come to Arlington for the 50th anniversary of the ACM Awards. Co-hosts Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton made the on-air announcement.
“You never see an awards show at Cowboys Stadium,” Shelton said.
“You never see a playoff game there, either,” Bryan cracked as Jones sat in the audience, looking both amused and bemused.
The show will broadcast live at 7 p.m. CDT April 19, 2015. We’d tell you to set your DVRs now, but that’s a long way off. But not too far off for hardcore fans to start planning to attend the shindig. Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, co-hosts of this year’s awards, will return to co-host in 2015.
The awards will be the climax of a three-day event that will also include the 3rd annual ACM Party for a Cause: 50 Years of Music & Memories on April 17-18, 2015 at nearby Globe Life Park. The two-day fest will feature multiple performances, as well as interactive experiences, a country marketplace with food trucks and vendors from around the country. The event will include more than 30 different artists, with proceeds benefitting yet to be announced charitable organizations. Participating artists will be announced at a later date
“For our 50th Anniversary, we wanted to invite more fans than ever to our party,” Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, said in a release. “Tickets to the ACM Awards sell out in minutes, country fans make their vacation plans around our events. In 2015, we’ll celebrate with the biggest group of mega artists at ACM Party for a Cause and allow more music fans to experience the awards by hosting it in the premier stadium in the country.”
Arlington officials noted the economic benefits of having the ACMs at the stadium.
“This fills the timeline that the Cowboys themselves aren't using the facility, it helps our businesses and hotels," Councilman Jimmy Bennett said. "The city and the region are well-prepared as is evidenced by this very weekend. The Final Four event is probably as large as anything we’ve hosted.”
However, the Academy has already partnered with the Hyatt and Sheraton in Dallas to offer lower hotel rates.
In 2011, Mayor Robert Cluck and the chairman to the Convention & Visitors Bureau spoke before house in support of a bill that would add events like the ACM and a political convention to the Major Events Trust Fund.
The bill died in the House.
Strait -- who, by the way, won the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year at Sunday’s awards -- will be part of another big AT&T Stadium event well before then, when he does his final show there on June 7. Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Lee Ann Womack will join him for that party. Strait also gave the first concert at the venue.
Tickets for the 50th ACM Awards will be available beginning at 10 a.m. CDT April 15, 2014. For event updates, ticket on-sale links, hotel information and more, visit http://www.acmcountry.com/. Country fans may sign up for the ACM A-List for FREE at www.ACMcountry.com to receive the ticket purchase pre-sale code and information.
Staff writer Monica S. Nagy contributed to this report.