Dallas youth can take advantage of free tickets for pro sporting events thanks to the Mayor’s Youth Sports Ticket Program, which was announced by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on September 19.
Recipients of the tickets must be between 12 and 17 years old and live in Dallas, according to the program’s website. Tickets are provided to the Dallas Sports Commission by participating partners and distributed based on eligibility.
The parent or guardian of the teen can register to be notified about free tickets for certain sporting events. The child will receive one ticket, and another will be provided to a chaperone, but transportation to the event is not provided.
“The City of Dallas is passionate about our youth,” Johnson said at the press conference. “We as the city must invest in them and provide opportunities they may not have otherwise.”
The mayor said he has “always loved sports of all shapes and sizes,” and added, “I am ecstatic to launch this innovative program to share that love with the children of my city.”
The Dallas Sports Commission will facilitate the program, according to Oak Cliff Advocate. Program partners include the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, SMU, the University of Dallas, and FC Dallas.
Monica Paul, the Dallas Sports Commission executive director, told Oak Cliff Advocate, “One of our primary goals as an organization is to provide opportunity through sport to our community. We’re excited to extend those efforts through the Mayor’s Youth Sports Ticket Program.”
Tickets will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, the website explains; not everyone who registers will be guaranteed a free ticket.
“Bear with us because we are trying to do something that’s never been done before,” Johnson said at the conference. “This is a brand-new program. But I’m extremely excited about what this program is so far and what it can become.”
Reminiscing, he explained, “It actually reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in this city, how we could actually go to the grocery store … and get free tickets to go see the Cowboys back when they were playing at Texas Stadium.”
The Youth Sports Ticket Program was inspired by the Dallas Parks Department’s “Teen All Access Pass,” which allowed teens between 13 and 17 in the city access to educational venues over the summer for free, as reported by The Dallas Express. These venues included the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Dallas Zoo.
Johnson claimed during the press conference that the Teen All Access Pass led to a decrease in violent crime rates during the summer. However, The Dallas Express previously reported that overall violent crime in Dallas rose by more than 5% from June 2021 to June 2022. Among other increases, the number of homicides in June ’22 more than doubled those in ’21, jumping from six to 13.
On August 27, the city held a celebration due to the success of the program, according to a City of Dallas press release. The free event was held at the UNT Dallas campus.
“I am thrilled to kick off this program that will give our families something fun to do while making our city safer and more vibrant,” Johnson said, Oak Cliff Advocate reported.
Other program partners include the World Food Championship, MEX Tour, and the First Responder Bowl. As more opportunities arise, new program partners may be added.