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Mark Cuban: Jerry Jones in 'tough situation' with home crowds

DALLAS -- Mark Cuban watched the Dallas Cowboys' overtime win over the Houston Texans in an AT&T Stadium luxury suite.

“I was cheering for the Cowboys,” Cuban said. “I was in the minority.”

The Dallas Mavericks owner chuckled as he said it, but he sympathizes with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has no problems filling his $1.2 billion football palace but can't figure out how to create a true home-field advantage for his team.

“It would drive me nuts,” Cuban said. “But it's expensive. And that's part of the trade-off.

“When I first bought the Mavs, we'd have more Lakers and Spurs fans than Mavericks fans and it killed me. Jerry's in a catch-22 in some respects because that's a very, very expensive building. He took one for the team in some respects. He created a landmark. They're going to talk about it in the future like they used to talk about the Astrodome as the Eighth Wonder of the World. And he put that landmark right here in north Texas for all of us to enjoy. And part of having to pay for a $1.2-billion building is [high] ticket prices.

“Part of the trade-off, particularly going into the season when people didn't think they were going to have a [good] season, you got to sell those tickets. That's just what happens. So I do feel bad for him. He's in a tough situation. It would kill me, but I don't have a $1.2-billion building.”

Each of the Cowboys' three home games this season have had the feel of a college bowl game because of the thousands of San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Texans fans who invaded JerryWorld. The Houston fans made their presence felt so effectively that the Dallas offense had to use a silent count Sunday.

Quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten made a point of noting how the crowd noise created problems for the Cowboys, with Romo encouraging season-ticket holders not to sell their seats.

The simple solution would be for the Cowboys to slash ticket prices, as Cuban said the Mavs have done with 4,000 seats this season. However, as Cuban said, Jones took a massive financial risk by borrowing the vast majority of the money to build the stadium.

“I can't question anybody who takes that kind of challenge and really the biggest beneficiary is going to be us in north Texas,” Cuban said. “I'm not going to give him a hard time about it at all. If my back was against the wall ... I'd probably say, OK, for a year or two, I'll take a lot of ribbing.”

If the 4-1 Cowboys keep winning, it stands to reason that fewer season-ticket holders would be willing to put their seats up on the secondary market. But Cuban said success on the field is far from an instant fix.

“It's not even that easy,” Cuban said. “People have to go through an adjustment period. We won 50 games and I was like, where are all the people at? Our sellout streak didn't start that first year we won 50 games because people didn't trust us. And so it doesn't happen. Look at other teams around the NBA or NFL. There will be a losing team that starts to win, fans don't immediately start filling the seats.

“That's just the nature of the beast. It's unfortunate, but true.”