Five years ago, the sports marketing department of the Dallas CVB transitioned into the Dallas Sports Commission. It was a winning move. The commission has booked 309 events and generated an economic impact of $2.2 billion since forming. In contrast, in its six years as the sports marketing department, it hosted more than 200 events with a total economic impact of $1 billion.
“We’ve expanded our vision, our mission, and our capacities to elevate the platform and really position Dallas as a premier sports destination,” says Executive Director Monica Paul. The commission has focused not only on bringing events to the city or the surrounding area but also on the execution, she says.
Today, the commission is a division of VisitDallas, formerly called the Dallas CVB. Here are five highlights of the Commission’s efforts over the past five years:
The NCAA’s 2017 Women's Final Four
The commission was in transition while winning the final bid for the women’s basketball tournament. The sold-out Final Four marked the first time Dallas hosted the games. “That was one that we really took from the bid all the way to the execution because we also served as the local organizing committee for that event,” Paul says. “It was something we definitely took great pride in.” The tournament is returning to American Airlines Center in 2023.
The 83rd NFL Draft
More than 200,000 fans attended the 2018 NFL Draft, which generated $125.2 million in economic impact for the Dallas region and $74 million in direct spending over the three days in April. It marked not only the first year the draft generated an impact of more than $100 million for its host region but also the first time it was hosted at an NFL stadium. “It allowed us to be able to work with the NFL again and establish those relationships,” Paul says. “We would like to be considered for another Super Bowl down the road.”
Mexican National Team U.S. Tour (MexTour)
The Commission, in partnership with the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, NFL's Dallas Cowboys, MLS's FC Dallas and Soccer United Marketing, inked a deal to bring the Mexican soccer team to North Texas for an annual match in 2019 through 2022. The team played Ecuador in June 2019, which capped a weekend of festivities. “We really want to position Dallas and the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area to be a FIFA World Cup host city in 2026, so we’re focusing on how to ensure that ... we’re thought of as a U.S soccer destination,” Paul says.
The VEX Robotics World Championship
The annual competition of the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation will return to Dallas from 2021 through 2024. Dallas previously hosted the youth event in 2009 and 2010. “It’s amateur and grassroots in nature, but it has a high travel component, so we’ll be seeing a lot of people coming into the city year after year,” Paul says.
The 35th National Veterans Wheelchair Games
Nearly 600 veterans came to Dallas in June 2015 to compete in the games, which are presented annually by Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Paul says, “It was a very powerful event to witness as it allows disabled veterans to engage in sports and competition while also improving fitness and quality of life.”
As the commission celebrates its anniversary, Paul is eyeing future wins. “We’re obviously proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last five years,” she says. “But I think we’re equally excited about the opportunities we have in front of us.”