Frisco, Texas: Texas' Rising Star
31 Aug, 2012By: Peter Francesconi
In the last decade, the city of Frisco, Texas, has exploded. And as the population of this Dallas suburb took off—from 34,000 in 2000 to 117,000—it has also brought a wealth of top-notch sports facilities. For sports events and tournaments looking for a home, Texas takes pride in the quality of its venues in Frisco and in the exceptional hospitality the city offers.
“One of the things that sets us apart is being able to do a wide variety of events in first-class facilities that many of our own pro teams use,” says Marla Roe, executive director of the Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. “To me, it’s more about the quality of the venues we have.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have been named the “Best Place to Raise an Athlete” by Men’s Journal in its April 2011 issue. The magazine said Frisco “hit its stride via an ingenious formula: Build state-of-the-art sports venues to attract professional teams, then use the tax boon to create a fiscally healthy paradise for jocks. The result: a booming and hyper-active community of soccer moms and baseball dads whose offspring are involved in countless athletic programs and have superb places to play.”
Frisco, which is about 25 minutes north of downtown Dallas, has a number of professional sports teams that play at its excellent venues: the Dallas Stars hockey team practices at the Dr Pepper Arena, which is also home to the NAHL Texas Tornado hockey team and the Texas Legends NBA D-League basketball team; FC Dallas is a Major League Soccer team that plays at FC Dallas Stadium; and the Frisco RoughRiders, a Texas Rangers AA affiliate, plays at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
“For sports events, we have everything from major league stadiums to city-owned multi-sports complexes available,” says Roe. “And in Frisco, our hospitality extends well beyond the venue. Our CVB and hotels are very sports-friendly, accustomed to working with tournament directors and helping athletes of all ages.”
Play at the Pro Venues
When it was built in 2005, FC Dallas Stadium was the first facility of its kind in the world. This 117-acre complex includes a world-class stadium adjacent to 17 lighted, regulation-size, tournament-grade soccer fields, with plenty of parking. It’s been home to significant high school and NCAA Division 1 championships, including national and international soccer tournaments (both major league and youth). Several of the fields are turf, and one provides seating for 600 spectators.
The main stadium itself includes 24 luxury suites, a 6,500-square-foot Stadium Club, dual giant ProStar video boards, a permanent stage, and state-of-the-art broadcast facility. For sports events, stadium capacity is 21,193. The FC Dallas Stadium complex also has hosted high school football games, flag football and other marquee events.
Dr Pepper Arena is the premier multipurpose sports and entertainment venue in the area, and it hosts a myriad of events, including basketball games, national figure skating and hockey tournaments, national and international gymnastics, tennis and sports trade shows. The facility recently was renovated, taking its capacity to just over 6,000, while also adding a second 1,000-space parking garage. The arena features two NHL-sized sheets of ice, concessions, eight locker rooms, full media capabilities, 12 luxury suites and a private club. Frisco also has a third NHL-sized ice arena at the Stonebriar Centre mall, which has hosted figure skating and ice hockey events.
Dr Pepper Ballpark is a favorite for not only professional baseball, but also championship high school and college games. The venue features seating for 10,000, two locker rooms, a state-of-the-art press box, 27 suites, two party decks, 3,000 parking spaces, and a terrace patio area for 100. The Founders Club restaurant seats up to 200 banquet-style or 300 for receptions.
Top-notch Sports Facilities
For sports planners, Frisco isn’t only about pro venues. The city has plenty of exceptional facilities that can suit any size tournament or event. For instance, Fieldhouse USA is a 144,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with 12 full-sized hardwood basketball and volleyball courts, indoor soccer/football turf and 13,200 square feet of retail space, as well as a food court, onsite trainer, team store and conference rooms. “We host a lot of national basketball tournaments in Fieldhouse USA, along with volleyball,” says Roe. “The Fieldhouse also is an elite training facility. It’s truly an amazing place.”
The Frisco Superdrome is a haven for cyclists. One of the fastest low-altitude outdoor velodromes in the world, it has hosted the U.S. National Cycling Championships in addition to local cycling events. It features a 250-meter wooden surface with 44-degree banking turns and can accommodate 2,200 fans.
The multi-use Warren Sports Complex is in a park-like setting, with pavilions and playground areas, and includes seven lighted football/soccer fields, four lighted baseball/softball fields, two lighted basketball courts, eight-acre fully-stocked pond with two piers, 600-plus parking spaces, two concession facilities, and two restroom facilities.
The 17-acre Shawnee Trail Sports Complex features four lighted baseball/softball fields, a football field, two sand volleyball courts, a covered basketball court, pavilion, concession facility and playground.
Memorial Stadium, part of the Frisco Independent School District, is a complex for football, softball and track, with seating for about 8,000, parking for 1,200 cars, and ample concession areas. The stadium playing surface is Prestige Field Turf. Additional facilities are available at the four high schools in Frisco.
Adjacent to Memorial Stadium is the Frisco ISD Natatorium, which features an Olympic-sized pool that can host a 50-meter long course, or two 25-yard short courses. It has nine-foot racing lanes, a separate classroom, meet management room, full concession area and dressing rooms, among other amenities. The natatorium seats up to 800, plus an additional 400 on the deck. Meets are run with the Colorado System 6 Timing System and Mercury scoreboard.
Golf, Tennis, Bowling
Frisco also is home to unique golf courses. The Trails of Frisco is an 18-hole, par 71 course, with dramatic bunkers, scenic wetlands, grass and mat driving ranges, a full clubhouse and pro shop. Plantation Golf Club is an 18-hole, par 72 course featuring Bermuda grass greens, 20 sand bunkers and nine ponds, and the Westin Stonebriar hosts an award-winning Tom Fazio 18-hole championship course.
In addition to tennis courts at the Warren and Shawnee Trail sports complexes, Frisco also has the Lakes Tennis Academy, with 12 lighted outdoor hard courts, locker rooms, a lounge, electronic scoring, ample parking and the ability to provide bleacher seating. The academy also has hosted a number of national tennis tournaments.
For bowling, Frisco offers two centers, Strikz and Main Event USA Bowling, both of which have more than 30 lanes each. Off the lanes, both centers also offer other attractions, such as laser tag, video arcade, billiards, meeting rooms and more.
The Frisco Conference Center has the second largest ballroom in Texas. The facility offers more than 90,000 square feet of flexible space, including 42,000 square feet that is column-free. It has hosted cheer events, gymnastics and billiards tournaments, among other events. “The Conference Center also is attached to a hotel,” says Roe, “which makes a huge difference for event planners and participants.”
Frisco offers a wide range of hotels, all conveniently located. “The majority of our hotels serve free breakfast, and a lot of them offer two queen beds, rather than the usual two double beds,” says Roe. With its location close to Dallas, Frisco also is easy to get to. In fact, the area is serviced by two airports, DFW International and Dallas Love Field, both just 20 minutes away.
For sports event planners, the Frisco CVB is all about hospitality and helping to make events the best possible. “We work with sports directors, help supply hotel leads, help them with their contracts, if needed we try to connect them to service organizations for volunteers, offer welcome packets, restaurant coupons, do publicity if needed, and more,” says Roe. “We just try to accommodate whatever their needs are.”
To learn more about Frisco, go to www.VisitFrisco.com