Texas likes to do things big! For a small city, Frisco, Texas, is an unlikely but big-time sports town. There are lots of sites to see, and even a Hall of Fame to visit.
The marketing people at Visit Frisco have coined the phrase “Sports City USA,” and it’s clearly evident why. No fewer than seven pro sports teams call the city home for their headquarters, plus a national sports headquarters. The most prominent is the Dallas Cowboys, which relocated their offices and practice facilities to Frisco in 2016. coined the phrase “Sports City USA”, and it’s clearly evident why. No fewer than five pro sports teams call the city home for their headquarters, plus a national sports headquarters. The most prominent is the Dallas Cowboys, which relocated their offices and practice facilities to Frisco in 2016. And coming soon in 2022, Frisco will become home to PGA America of America golf headquarters.
Here’s more on those and the other reasons every sports fan needs to put Frisco on their bucket list.
1. NFL Pro Football Comes To Frisco
The Cowboys, America’s Team and the most valuable franchise in all of American sports, opened their headquarters and practice field at The Star and Ford Center. The move touched off a flurry of commercial development in Frisco that continues to this day. The Star became the focal point of what local officials proclaimed “The Five Billion Dollar Mile.” At last report, it was upgraded to $6 billion, and the Cowboys investment represents a billion dollars alone. The Star is surrounded by office buildings, restaurants, and shops. Tourists flock to the area, and kids can actually play a little football on the 50-yard artificial turf field in the middle of the complex.
2. The PGA (Professional Golfer’s Association) Set To Open Soon
The next, and perhaps biggest step, came in 2018 when the Professional Golf Association of America, the PGA, announced plans to move its headquarters from Florida to Frisco. The move is expected to be completed in 2022. Already landscape crews are shaping the two championship courses, and a short course, that will showcase the 600-acre property on Frisco’s north side. The PGA National Championship is scheduled in Frisco in 2023. In addition to the courses, the PGA property will include a headquarters office building and an Omni resort hotel.
3. You’ll Find Pro Hockey, Soccer, And Baseball
Other major teams in the city are the Dallas Stars of the NHL and FC Dallas of the pro soccer MLS. Minor league franchises are led by the Frisco RoughRiders baseball team, an AA farm team for the Texas Rangers. The Texas Legends is a minor league basketball franchise of the Dallas Mavericks. The Frisco Fighters is an indoor football team.
In addition to all that the city hosts the annual NCAA college football Frisco Bowl, The NCAA Division 1 championship football game, and is the home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
4. From Cattle Trailhead To Sports Mecca: Frisco’s Interesting History
Frisco started out in the mid-1800s as a trail stop for cattle drives going from Texas to the railhead in the Midwest. At the turn of this century, in 2000, Frisco was still a sleepy little farming community of fewer than 35,000 people. Today it’s around 200,000 strong — and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. What happened to cause this explosion?
The Road To Boomtown
The major factor in Frisco’s growth was the extension of the Dallas North Tollway. The Tollway had stopped in Plano, but in 2007 it opened the extension to Frisco. The Texas economy was booming, and Frisco boomed right along with it. The Great Recession that strangled the rest of the country barely dented Frisco’s growth.
The Sports Mecca Started With A Handshake
The sports frenzy began with a handshake deal by Lamar Hunt to relocate his MLS soccer franchise, FC Dallas, to Frisco. That was in the early 2000s, before the tollway extension. But Hunt had a vision for the future. With private and public money, the soccer stadium, which became Toyota Stadium, was built in the downtown area.
About the same time, the minor league baseball franchise, The Frisco RoughRiders, was born in the city in 2003. Again with public and private funding, Riders Field was built near the Stonebriar Mall. The ballpark is widely regarded as one of the best in the minor leagues.
The next team to move to Frisco was the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League. Although they play their home games at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas, the Stars have their headquarters and primary practice facilities at Comerica Center in Frisco.
5. Frisco’s High Schoolers Get Pro Sports Facilities, Too
All of the brick and mortar has been financed by public and private sources. The City of Frisco, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Frisco Independent School District all chipped in. The school district has 12 high schools, and they play most of their home games at the Ford Center at The Star and Toyota Stadium, saving a huge amount of money that would have otherwise been spent on building football fields at each high school. In addition, the PGA has agreed to let high school golfers use the PGA courses for practice and matches.
6. Sports Fuel Frisco’s Economy
The Frisco economy is one of the fastest-growing among small cities in the country, fueled in part by its sports franchises. There are no breakout stats for the sports’ impact, but it is substantial. That is sure to grow as the PGA opens up in 2022. The PGA alone is expected to contribute $2.5 billion to the Frisco economy over the next 20 years.
In addition to new commercial development, tourism has steadily increased. Although the numbers tapered off due to COVID, Visit Frisco, the city’s marketing arm, says 2018 was a record year for tourism: 6.6 million visitors came to town, pumping $2.1 billion into the local economy. That said, most of those visitors come from within the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
7. Frisco’s Hotel And Restaurant Boom
All this growth has led to the need for new hotels. The newest is the Tru By Hilton, a boutique hotel with just over 100 rooms. The Hyatt Regency at Stonebriar opened in 2020 and has 16 floors and 303 rooms. The rooms even feature 4K jumbo-screen TVs. According to Frisco’s tourism agency, across the city, there are 3,572 hotel rooms to provide “heads on beds” for business and tourism customers. The major hotel groups have one or more Frisco locations.
Frisco Hotels & Golf Resorts
Golf will be a big tourism draw to Frisco when the PGA opens, and hotels are preparing for the links crowd. The PGA property includes the Omni PGA Resort hotel. It will open in 2023, in time for the PGA National Championship tournament. The Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort and Spa is located at the Stonebriar Country Club’s championship golf course. It recently completed a $30 million renovation. The Sunday brunch there is worth the stay by itself.
Another Omni property, the new Omni Frisco, is located in the Star district, near the Cowboy’s complex.
Frisco Fine Dining And More
The fine-dining scene in Frisco has boomed right along with the city.
The upscale dining chain III Forks has a Frisco restaurant. It offers prime steaks, lobster, and seafood. Locally owned Randy’s Steakhouse on Main Street serves up prime steaks, but you will also find tilapia, chicken, and pork chops on the menu. For TexMex, try CasaMia Mexican Restaurant for tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas.
Where The Locals Eat
Not everyone is looking for fine dining. Some of the popular family restaurants include Babe’s Chicken Dinner House with family-style fried chicken. Hutchins BBQ is where you usually find a long line waiting for some of the best barbecue in North Texas. And for breakfast, there is Norma’s Cafe, which also sells delicious homemade meringue pies.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Texas without something chicken fried on the menu. Mash’d serves up chicken fried pepperoni with a side of Chuck Norris gravy.
8. For A Taste Of The Arts
Scattered around Frisco, you will see life-size Western bronze sculptures. Back in 2002, before the boom really began, the city adopted a public arts program that requires developers to contribute a fee that pays for art in public places in the city.
The Frisco Discovery Center has several galleries and rotating exhibits.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame is downtown near Toyota Stadium. It offers a unique high-tech experience as you have your face scanned when you enter, fill out a questionnaire at a kiosk, and then the exhibits are catered to your interests.
Frisco Travel Tips
Frisco is located less than 45 minutes from both the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Love Field in downtown Dallas.
Major highway links to Frisco include the Dallas North Expressway and the Sam Rayburn Expressway, both toll roads. From the north, use U.S. 75 (Central Expressway), exit at Route 380 in McKinney, and head west.
Traffic in Dallas is notoriously jammed, but the toll roads are usually passable in the suburbs north of the city, including Frisco. During rush hour all bets are off, even on the toll roads.
The Frisco boom town story is much more than sports, but sports have played a significant role in propelling the city’s massive growth in the last 15 years.
For more inspiration, read up on How To Spend A Long Weekend In Charming Frisco, Texas.