FRISCO, Texas – The City of Frisco, in partnership with Hunt Sports Group, LLC and the Southland Conference, submitted a bid this week to serve as the host of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Games following the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons. Should the city be successful in its bid effort, the contest, formerly known as the NCAA Division I-AA Championship game, will be played at Frisco’s 23,500-seat Pizza Hut Park. The Southland will serve as the host conference.
In early August, the NCAA notified prospective cities of the opportunity to submit bid packages. A partnership between Hunt Sports Group, the Southland, Frisco and its affiliated entities – the Frisco Economic Development Corporation, the Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Frisco Chamber of Commerce – was formed, and a bid committee consisting of individuals from these groups formulated a citywide plan to bring the NCAA’s highest-profile football championship to the city. Further, a number of Dallas-Fort Worth area sports and business entities offered their endorsement and support of the Frisco bid effort.
“When the City of Frisco partnered with Hunt Sports Group on an earlier project, a world-class stadium called Pizza Hut Park was the end result,” Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said. “We’re honored to partner with Hunt Sports once again, along with Southland Conference, with hopes of bringing championship football to Frisco. Not only does our community enjoy sports, but we support athletics on all levels. We’re hopeful our teamwork translates into an NCAA touchdown in Frisco.”
Following this week’s submission deadline, the NCAA is beginning a month-long comment period to communicate with bidding cities before determining a group of finalists. Once the finalist cities are determined, it is anticipated that the NCAA staff and football committee will plan site visits. Finalists will also attend the 2009 championship game in Chattanooga, Tenn., before making in-person presentations before NCAA officials in February.
Pizza Hut Park, built in 2005, serves as home to Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas as well as numerous high school football games, concerts and other special events. Part of a 17-acre project, the Park also includes 17 adjacent fields for soccer, football, corporate functions, and FC Dallas training and youth camps. Major League Soccer held its championship games, the MLS Cup, at Pizza Hut Park in 2005 and 2006, and the venue has hosted numerous nationally-televised games since it opened.
“Every year Pizza Hut Park plays host to world-class events from Major League Soccer to concerts to youth soccer and corporate functions,” Pizza Hut Park Executive Vice President Damon Boettcher said. “We are excited about joining with the Southland Conference and City of Frisco in making this bid and continuing to showcase this spectacular facility and our city.”
The state-of-the-art facility features 18 luxury suites, a 6,000-square foot stadium club, two suite decks and four covered pavilions for larger groups, two video display boards for spectators, and an open concourse allowing full viewing of game action. Baylor Health Care System also has a 6,500-square foot sports medicine and rehabilitation center at the stadium, the national headquarters of U.S. Youth Soccer are located at Pizza Hut Park, and numerous restaurants and retail developments have also been built in and around the complex.
“The Southland Conference is honored to be involved with the City of Frisco, its affiliated groups, and Hunt Sports Group and Pizza Hut Park for what we believe is an attractive and compelling bid package for the NCAA Football Championship,” league commissioner Tom Burnett said. “Pizza Hut Park serves as a first-class, fan-friendly and neutral venue for the championship, and with all the other attractive lodging, shopping, restaurants and entertainment options in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we are very confident that Frisco can provide a remarkable experience and lasting impression with the competing teams and all visitors to the area.”
Frisco, located just 25 miles north of downtown Dallas, has developed a reputation as a burgeoning sports center in recent years. In addition to FC Dallas and Pizza Hut Park, the city is also home to the NHL’s Dallas Stars executive headquarters and training facility, the 8,800-seat Dr Pepper Ballpark, home to the Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas League, and the 6,100-seat Dr Pepper Arena, home to the Texas Tornado of the North American Hockey League, and a new NBA Development League team.
Additionally, the Frisco’s retail, residential and commercial development has made it one of the nation’s fastest-growing and highly-awarded communities. The city’s centralized geographic location, its immediacy to a metropolitan area of 6.5 million people, and its unmatched national air service into nearby DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field were all major factors in the city’s bid effort.
The 2010 championship game will be the culmination of a 20-team national playoff in the NCAA’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA). The first four weekends of the playoffs will occur between Nov. 27-Dec. 18, 2010, and it is expected that the championship game will fall somewhere between Dec. 29, 2010-Jan. 7, 2011.
What others are saying about the Frisco LOC bid effort:
Jim Gandy, President of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation:
“The Frisco Economic Development Corporation is pleased to be part of this process. The opportunity to work with the Southland Conference on such a perfect opportunity for the City of Frisco is indicative of our continued commitment in the area of youth and sports.”
Marla Roe, Executive Director of the Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau:
“We are excited to partner with some incredible organizations and look forward to showing the NCAA that Frisco can host another successful event!”
Tony Felker, President/CEO. Frisco Chamber of Commerce:
“The 1,200-plus members of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, together with the entire business community in and around Frisco, are excited to be bidding on bringing this championship game to Frisco. Our entire team knows we have a winning business atmosphere and great venues here in the area and we look forward to welcoming the rest of the country to Frisco.”