Josh Dill, CSEE, CTA, has one-upped the old Texas two-step in becoming Visit Frisco’s
new director of sports and events. But Dill is hoping his third landing spot in the Lone Star State is his last. He feels he is coming into the booming market at the right time, and his experience at the CVBs in Lubbock
and, most recently, Fort Worth
for the past three and a half years will only benefit the community. Connect Sports talked to Dill about the move from Fort Worth, which became official Dec. 28, and what’s ahead in Frisco, host of the FCS Football Championship on Jan. 7.
Why leave Fort Worth for Frisco?
It’s not easy to leave a city like Fort Worth with so much history and culture. I didn’t expect to leave so soon, but this opportunity is too good to pass up. Fort Worth is the 16th-largest market in the United States, but Frisco is the fastest-growing city in the U.S. Everything they’ve done is based on the idea they want to be a major sports city. It’s exciting to be in a city where what you do and your passion are shared by city leaders and citizens. The great thing is they say Frisco is only 60 percent built out and it’s going to continue to grow. Hopefully we can have an influence on any new facility coming on board that fits the city and the mission we are trying to accomplish.
Was the Dallas Cowboys’ new world headquarters a draw to you?
In Fort Worth, we had major events, but we didn’t have any pro sports to speak of except Texas Motor Speedway
(NASCAR). The ability to work with people like the Cowboys, the most-recognizable sports brand in the world with a real focus on bringing in sporting events other than their own football, is definitely a draw. But it’s not just the Cowboys. The Dallas Stars are there; FC Dallas is there; and there’s a double-A baseball team [the Frisco RoughRiders]. There’s so much going on in Frisco that is sports-related, it is hard not to get excited.
What do you bring to the table in Frisco?
I had success in Fort Worth working with people who previously didn’t want to work with the CVB or didn’t understand what the CVB does. When I got to Fort Worth, the parks and rec department was very hands off, but I worked closely with them the past two years and they started giving us a week in the spring and the fall to bring in outside events, which they never would have done in the past. Also, the city of Fort Worth came to us and gave us an extra $100,000 above our normal budget to be devoted to sports tourism, which was awesome.
What events are you looking to bring in?
Frisco already does decently with cheer and dance. I’m talking to gymnastics—there are so many former Olympians in the area—and USA Ultimate. I’m looking at anything to use those fields at Toyota Soccer Center [home of FC Dallas] and making sure we have access to those fields, which I’m told has been a challenge in the past.
What did you learn in Lubbock and Fort Worth that will pay off here?
In Lubbock, they do sports really well and service their events well. I learned about the operations of events from my mentor, [Lubbock Sports Director] Scott Harrison. I learned about the hotel industry in depth at Fort Worth and learned about the operations and politics in a major city and what it takes to work in a major market like DFW. Frisco is a little smaller and growing from a suburb into its own entity, which is exciting and challenging.
Any trends you’re seeing from the supplier side in sports tourism?
The biggest trend is the owning and operating of events, and the creation of events. You see it in so many places; it’s the future of sports tourism. I think Frisco will allow us to create things. We are already working with the Stars to create a large hockey tournament and fan fest.
Related Post: 2016 Industry Leader: Josh Dill