Business of Sports: The Impact of The PGA

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"We are already seeing the benefits of The PGA of America coming to Frisco,” shared Ron Patterson, President of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation and panelist at this week’s Frisco Chamber of Commerce Business of Sports luncheon titled, “The Impact of the PGA.” Almost 300 Frisco business and community leaders gathered at the Westin Stonebriar on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, for a sold-out luncheon. Panelists included Darrell Crall, Chief Operating Officer of The PGA of America; Fehmi Karahan, President/CEO of Karahan Companies; Clay Roby, Partner at Stillwater Investments, LLC; David Ovard, attorney and Member of Clark Hill Strasburger; and Ron Patterson, President of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation. Joe Trahan, WFAA Channel 8 Sports Reporter and a Frisco resident himself, moderated the panel discussion, opening with, “If you want to find Frisco, Texas, you need to go to the intersection of great people who work hard for the community and kids and have an eye for business and sports…and the business of sports.” On December 4, 2018, The PGA of America announced the relocation of its headquarters and operations to Frisco, Texas. Frisco is becoming well-known for its innovative public/private partnerships (P3s) and this is yet another example of such. The PGA of America will anchor a 600-acre, mixed-use development that will include two public golf courses, a short course, an Omni resort hotel and conference center, as well as AA office space. The PGA site sits within the 2,500 contiguous acres once known as the Bert Fields Estate. Darrell Crall called the relocation a “strategic decision that is multi-generational.” David Ovard, the father with the vision to bring The PGA of America to Frisco, shared the back story, the details of the early days of beginning the discussions with Darrell Crall, Frisco City Manager George Purefoy, City Council members, and Ron Patterson that took place over five years ago. Ovard’s two sons, both elite junior golfers, served as the inspiration for bringing the PGA to Frisco. Fehmi Karahan, well-known for leading the development of Legacy West in Plano, spoke of his vision for the development of the 2,500 acres in the northern corridor of Frisco. “We weren’t sure that PGA was going to commit but we were sure of the great potential of this great land! We are hopeful that what Toyota and JP Morgan Chase have done for Legacy West, the PGA will do for the Field’s development.” In terms of economic impact, it is a win for Frisco residents and the business community. Patterson pointed out that the tournaments alone, according to a feasibility study by Visit Frisco, are estimated to have a $2.5 billion impact on the area over a 20-year period. A seven-day championship can have an estimated $115 million impact in addition to the 200+ countries watching on TV! Not only will the relocation of The PGA of America benefit the region economically, much of the discussion centered around our youth. “Kids really are the starting point,” Crall said. “Golf and golf facilities are living, breathing organisms, so think about STEM and bringing elementary and middle school students to the facility, teaching them about science, technology, engineering, and math.” He went on to mention internships, volunteer opportunities, and part-time jobs in addition to the Frisco ISD athletes that will practice and compete on the PGA golf courses. The panelists agreed that the PGA brand will attract other corporations, as well as vendors, and according to Patterson, inquiries have already been received. Roby discussed being in conversation with local companies that might want to make an adjustment to the northern corridor as well as global companies not yet in the United States potentially relocating to be near The PGA of America. Frisco was once named “The Best Place to Raise an Athlete” and also has a reputation for being Sports City USA. With seven professional, now eight, sports entities, state-of-the-art sports venues, medical rehabilitation and sports research facilities, the sporting industry continues to be a huge economic driver for Frisco. The presenting sponsor for the Business of Sports luncheon was Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star. “We are proud to partner with the Frisco Chamber to host its members here today and to help welcome the PGA to Frisco,” said Brian Quesenberry, Executive Director at the Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center.  “Being a part of the healthy and active lifestyle of our community allows us to help achieve our goal at the SPC to maximize human performance through movement and recovery. We look forward to working with the PGA athletes and team members.” “We are just beginning to understand the huge impact that the PGA will have on Frisco,” said Tony Felker, President/CEO of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. “From economics to real estate development to culture and image, and our youth…the impact is already being felt and it will remain a driving force for generations to come!” Darrell Crall cannot wait to share Frisco with the employees relocating here. We cannot help but agree…there is a reason that Frisco was named Money Magazine’s #1 Best Place to Live in 2018. “I can’t wait for you to meet them. They are great people who do great work,” Crall shared. “They will be a great addition to the community.” Welcome to Frisco, The PGA of America!

Photos courtesy of Suad Bejtovic Photography


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