I was part of a conversation recently about Dallas-Fort Worth being one of a few regions with home teams in all five major professional sports in the United States-football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer. That’s a strong selling point when companies are considering a move to our area; even if they are relocating here from places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or other cities with a similar array of professional sports teams. Newcomers may not transfer their rooting interests to our local teams, but their favorite team or teams will be here regularly. It’s clear by the number of jerseys representing the visiting team being worn by attendees at a Dallas Cowboys game, for example, and the amount of cheering for that team, that a lot of people from all over the U.S. have moved here and maintained their loyalties.
“March 6th in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, prior to a Dallas Regional Chamber luncheon featuring Richard Fisher’s last speech as Chairman of the Dallas Federal Reserve, business suits mixed with sweats and team colors. Players and fans from several of the teams competing in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament were also there. Seeing those players made me recall the pro sports conversation and set my mind adding up the depth and breadth of sports that we have access to. Our sales pitch to sports lovers only gets stronger. In fact, it’s the best anywhere.”
Officially staking the claim as being the nation’s best sports location only requires one additional criteria- college football. DFW is the only region in the U.S. that is represented in the five biggest professional team sports and also has a bowl game that is in the College Football Playoff rotation. The opportunities that a college football fan has living here are amazing. The regular seasons for North Texas, SMU, and TCU bring teams from three different conferences to our area. There will be a College Football Playoff semifinal game here every three years, including 2016. The Cotton Bowl and other bowl games and the annual high-profile matchups held at AT&T Stadium at the beginning of and during each season add to our great college football scene. During the State Fair of Texas each year, the area hosts the well-known Texas versus Oklahoma and Grambling State versus Prairie View A&M games. In just the last three seasons, nearly half of all the major division college football teams have played at least one game in DFW. I counted 57, unofficially. In addition, Toyota Stadium in Frisco has hosted the FCS national championship game for the past few years. Where is there a better place in the nation to be a college football fan?
Sports are not just about football around here, though that is what I get asked about the most when talking with companies and employees thinking of moving here. Football and cheerleading, whether the Cowboys, college, or high school are definitely subjects for which the perceptions newcomers have of Dallas line up fairly well with reality, so it is great to also be able to mention TCU making the College World Series last year and their great tennis or track programs, or UTA’s Movin’ Mavs, or SMU’s men’s basketball success, or that around here it is cool to be in the marching band. Even the UTD chess team gets a shoutout whenever we can. It is always helpful to paint a broader picture of what it’s like to live, work, and play here. Because of our warm climate, our ability to also be outdoors and active here year-round has always been a great asset.
Since I moved here in 1988 our region has hosted a Super Bowl; the World Series; NHL and NBA finals; All-Star games; a Davis Cup Final; a Women’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament; a Breeder’s Cup; World Cup matches; and many other soccer matches featuring Real Madrid, Barcelona, and national teams from around the world. We have two PGA tournaments and an LPGA tournament; a full NASCAR schedule and an Indy Car race at Texas Motor Speedway; minor league baseball; rodeos; horse racing; and drag racing. We even have Ultimate Frisbee championships, marathons, and WrestleMania. Competitive cheerleaders seem to gather in Dallas by the tens of thousands each year for national competitions. And all of these events are basically 30 minutes from our front doors. We are the only place in the U.S. where that’s possible.
We have no state income tax, affordable housing, an overall low cost of living, and a few other financial benefits most people are not used to where they currently live. The Dallas Regional Chamber staff lets those considering relocating here know those extra savings will provide them with money in their pockets with which to enjoy spring break and vacations.
Though I can’t recall a corporate location decision that we won or lost that hinged upon whether or not there was a particular sporting event or team present, it certainly is an important consideration when a company has narrowed its options to a final few cities. It is important to show DFW as diverse and robust in sports; the same way we are able to for arts, recreation, shopping, and restaurants. Sports contribute mightily to the economy, but also to the quality of living here. Simply stated, there’s no better place to be a sports fan than DFW.