A little known fact about Frisco, Texas, is that it’s home to five professional sports teams: the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, NHL’s Dallas Stars, MLS’ FC Dallas, MiLB’s Frisco Roughriders and NBA G League’s Texas Legends. Frisco is also home to the National Videogame Museum, the only museum in America dedicated to the history of the videogame industry. Additionally, Frisco became the headquarters of Gearbox Software, which relocated to the city in 2015. I learned about all of this and more on a recent trip to Frisco, a burgeoning city that is looking to carve out a name for itself in the sports, technology and meetings space.
I had the pleasure of staying at the new Omni Frisco Hotel, which celebrated its grand opening in July. The 300-room hotel features 24,000 square feet of event space, its signature Neighborhood Services restaurant and The Edge pool deck and bar. Located adjacent to the hotel and available for tours is The Star, the world headquarters of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. With the Cowboys connection, it’s no surprise that Cowboys-inspired décor can be found throughout the Omni, including sconces shaped like goal posts, “x” and “o” lighting fixtures that mimic football diagrams and stars stitched into the throw blankets found in guest rooms.
The Star is a 91-acre campus that includes Ford Center, a 510,000-square-foot indoor facility that offers one indoor and two outdoor practice fields. Not only do the Dallas Cowboys use Ford Center at The Star as a training facility, but a unique partnership between the Frisco Independent School District (FISD), the city of Frisco and the Cowboys allows FISD’s high school teams to use the space to host football and soccer games as well as other athletic, academic, fine arts, and entertainment events and competitions. In fact, while I was in town, the city buzzed with energy as fans made their way to The Star to cheer on their high school football teams.
It’s evident that Frisco has made an investment in its youth and recreational sports. A major hub for youth sports is the 140,000-square-foot Fieldhouse USA, which features eight full-sized basketball and volleyball courts, indoor soccer/football turf, approximately 13,200 square feet of retail, corporate conference rooms and an on-site trainer. Fieldhouse USA receives about 1.6 million visitors annually; last year, it hosted 33 events. Another family-friendly venue is Dr Pepper Ballpark, home of the Frisco Roughriders, the Double-A Affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Because the ballpark has hosted a number of players that have advanced to Major League Baseball, it strives to promote the spirit that “every night is someone’s opening night.”
Both children and adults can find something to marvel over at the National Videogame Museum in the Frisco Discovery Center. Opening in 2016, the interactive museum boasts more than 100,000 pieces of videogame hardware, software, documentation and memorabilia that is the result of about 30 years of collecting by co-founders Sean Kelly, John Hardie and Joe Santulli. Highlights include a physical timeline of more than 50 past and present videogame consoles, the world’s largest home Pong console on a 15-foot TV replica from the 1970s, an arcade full of timeless classics such as Asteroids and Donkey Kong, and a 1980s living room recreation complete with an Intellivision console.
According to the City of Frisco Development Services, 32.6 percent of the population is under the age of 18 and the median age is 37.2. Visit Frisco, the city’s destination marketing organization, was founded only 14 years ago in 2003. Since the early 2000s, Frisco’s population has quadrupled; as of August 1, 2017, the city is home to an estimated 168,140 people. All signs point to the city’s rapid growth. As more venues make their debuts and new sporting ventures come to town—such as the Frisco Bowl later in December and the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018—Frisco is poised to become a leading destination for meeting and event planners.