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Dallas Seeking to Catch More Pro Sports Teams


Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson | Image by NBC DFW

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The City of Dallas is becoming more aggressive in recruiting and retaining professional sports.

Tuesday was the first meeting of the Pro Sports City Council Committee that Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is chairing.

His goal is to explore how Dallas can be more competitive in hosting pro sporting events. Johnson did not hold back in saying Dallas has taken a back seat to its surrounding suburbs regarding pro sports.

“The City of Arlington, the City of Frisco, the City of Grand Prairie, and the City of McKinney have been cornering the market on the sports business, slowly but steadily over many years,” said Mayor Johnson.

Dallas’ pro soccer team, FC Dallas, is based in Frisco, as are the Cowboys’ home office and practice facility, with extensive developments surrounding both franchises’ facilities.

Arlington is the site of the home stadiums of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. A second big hotel is under construction near those stadiums in Arlington.

The mayor said it is Dallas’ turn to step up.

“It’s long past time that the City of Dallas play to win these franchises, and play to win these events,” Mayor Johnson said, adding, “a circle has been run around the City of Dallas by some of its neighbors when it comes to competing for professional sports. I want us to compete.”

The mayor said getting to the point where the city can compete with its suburbs would mean more than adding another NFL team in the metroplex, as he has previously suggested. Still, Johnson doubled down on his assertion that the city could more than support another NFL franchise.

The mayor said the region would support an AFC team that plays in Dallas, in a direct challenge to the NFC Cowboys who play in Arlington.

“I do believe we have a big enough market to support two NFL teams,” Johnson said. “If we had a team in the AFC that was going to play their home opener this Sunday, I guarantee that stadium would be full and all eyeballs would be watching that team as well because we have that much demand for football here.”

Mayor Johnson added that it is equally essential to ensure the two pro sports teams that do play in Dallas stay in Dallas. The NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and NHL’s Dallas Stars share the American Airlines Center (AAC).

Last year, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was quoted as saying he was more than 50% sure the team will leave the AAC when the current lease runs out in 2031.

As reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas proper has seen a decline as people and businesses move out of the city, whether due to rising crime or the inefficient processes and constricting policies that hinder those trying to build and work there.

Cuban has purchased land in several locations around the city, including a practice facility across the freeway from the AAC. Some reports indicate Cuban is considering the construction of a new stadium in Dallas.

“I can guarantee you this. We will not lose the Dallas Mavericks. The Dallas Mavericks will stay in the City of Dallas,” Johnson said.

The AAC was built where a power plant once was. It was demolished and reclaimed for the sports arena and The Victory Development around the stadium.

An expert told the committee that the total cumulative benefit to North Texas from The Victory Development has been nearly $28 billion since its inception.

“With [the] return of investment dollars like this it is exciting and intriguing,” Councilman Adam Bazaldua said.

The committee will continue to meet and ponder other Dallas sports developments that could excite fans. The committee also discussed attracting more pro sporting events like tennis tournaments and auto racing.    

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