Out of town visitors are vital to our local economy and business community. When sporting events and concerts occur in Frisco, hotels, restaurants, transportation, and retail outlets benefit greatly from the influx of visitors. Visit Frisco (formerly Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau) recently released a 2016/2017 Tourism Economic Impact Analysis reporting the Frisco visitor industry generated $1.9 billion in direct visitor spending inside the city, up from 1.42 billion in 2012/2013. Several of our staff members currently sit, or have served in the past, on Board of Directors or serve in an Ex-Officio role in a variety of industries, including Visit Frisco (formerly CVB). In addition, our staff members serve on long-range planning committees for the City of Frisco and Frisco ISD, as well as play a role in sporting event planning committees such as Team Frisco (NCAA FCS Championship Game), Frisco Bowl, and C-USA Basketball Tournament, to name a few. To educate the business community on the economic impact of sporting venues, the Frisco Chamber of Commerce recently held The Business Behind Sports panel discussion at the Omni Hotel Frisco. In attendance were leaders of the business community, community leaders, as well as sports enthusiasts (and a few sports celebrities including Chad Hennings, former Dallas Cowboy; Marty Turco, former Dallas Star; and Johnny Quinn, Olympian bobsledder). The Presenting Sponsor of this sold-out event was Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at the Star.
The panel discussion, moderated by Joe Trahan, weekend anchor and sports reporter for WFAA, included Jim Hinton, CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas; Jerry Jones, Jr., Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of the Dallas Cowboys; Donnie Nelson, Co-owner of the Texas Legends and President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the Dallas Mavericks; and Jimmy Smith, COO/CFO of FCD Holdings, which operates FC Dallas, Toyota Stadium, and Toyota Soccer Center, and National Soccer Hall of Fame Experience. Trahan’s first question to panelists was, “Beyond your teams directly, in what other ways do your respective venues contribute to the economic impact of Frisco?” “It all goes back to the vision of Lamar Hunt and the great City of Frisco,” said Jimmy Smith, speaking of Toyota Stadium’s long-term partnership with Frisco and multiple sports and entertainment events that take place at the stadium. “With over two million visitors per year, it is not just soccer,” said Smith. He mentioned concerts, such as Jimmy Buffet and Off the Rails, the addition of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, the FCS Championship game, now in its seventh year, and the new Frisco Bowl, which will take place on December 20, 2017. Trahan spoke of all the Texas Legends do for our community. “We are philanthropically minded. All of us [teams in Frisco] give back to the community,” said Donnie Nelson, as he praised fellow sports teams in Frisco. “Things were already pretty amazing up here in Frisco before the Jones family arrived. It reminded me of that famous line in Jaws where Richard Dreyfuss finally gets a look at the shark and says, ‘Captain, we are going to need a bigger boat!’” joked Nelson. “Frisco has overnight become the best destination for everyone that want to see sports at the very highest level, sports as a science, and that building next door, [Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at the Star] is going to be unlike anything you have ever seen!” One of the most direct benefits to Frisco is increased home values as Nelson pointed out, which led Trahan to the next question: “We have seen this area explode. Do you think Frisco just lucked in to this, in this Sports City USA moniker, or was this planned?” Nelson touted the City of Frisco for its planning and continued, “In the wake of all of this are a whole lot of headquarters that are deciding to come to Frisco versus other spots.” Visit Frisco recently introduced a new tagline, Sports City USA, to brand this area. Trahan asked how this tagline will impact our area. “Capturing that moniker is critical,” said Jim Hinton. “It is something we can uniquely claim here in Frisco. Sports are such an important part of our society, our schools…our families! The Jones family approaches this as a family business and brings those values to this community.” When asked what new medical equipment or procedure he was most excited about at the new Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star facility, Jim Hinton responded with laughter, “All of it! We are going to focus on these athletes; we are going to try to help them prevent injuries and get back to their sports more quickly. There are some cool things, ‘gee whiz’ things in there, such as fusionetics.” Fusionetics can predict which part of an athlete’s body may be most susceptible to injury. With the recent addition of arena football team, Texas Revolutions, Frisco now can claim being the only city in North America to be home to six professional sports teams. In addition, to the football games being played at Toyota Stadium, the 2018 and 2019 Conference USA Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships will be hosted at Ford Center at The Star. Trahan reminded the audience that the Dallas Cowboys were the most valuable sports franchise on the planet. “They’re number one!” said Trahan. Jerry Jones, Jr. expanded, “Taking that visibility of the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL and leveraging it, in a way that you can do something extremely positive…nothing happens by accident!” Jones shared how proud he was of both his family and the City of Frisco and other partners for moving so fast in the partnership between the Cowboys, the City of Frisco, and Frisco ISD. He also made mention of how proud he is of the partnership with both Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy and Research at The Star and the Frisco Omni Hotel. “We really believe Frisco can be a regional…we believe an international destination and I believe that is what is being built here today,” said Jones. Joe Trahan sums it up best! “This does not happen by accident! Hats off to Frisco!”