Dallas Named ‘Best Sports Business City' in the Nation

Top leaders from the powerhouse teams that call this region home gathered on one stage Monday at American Airlines Center to talk about how big of a deal this is for DFW.

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It’s a home run, a touchdown and a slam dunk for North Texas.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has just been named the number one sports business city in the country.

This comes just as Dallas prepares to once again host the NCAA Women's Final Four and as Arlington competes for the biggest matches in the World Cup.

“I don’t think it can get any better than this,” said Monica Paul, executive director for the Dallas Sports Commission.

The special distinction comes from the Sports Business Journal, which debuted Dallas on the cover of its newest issue out this week. The lead into the feature says, “Dallas is clearly the star.”

Top leaders from the powerhouse teams that call this region home gathered on one stage Monday at American Airlines Center to talk about how big of a deal this is for DFW.

“We’ve had all the great big events, from Winter Classic to Super Bowls and World Cups, Final Fours – and I think it’s a testament to what this region has meant now to the sports business world,” said Brad Alberts, President and CEO of the Dallas Stars.

It’s the first-ever study by the prestigious publication. The research used interviews from more than 100 veteran business executives, crunched numbers from 50 different cities over the course of seven months, and pulled together around half a million data points from nearly 400 markets to come to the conclusion. Dallas was named in the top spot ahead of New York City, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

“Throughout my time here in Dallas it’s been such a wonderful opportunity to watch and see all the beautiful growth not only from a corporate structure but also from a community base,” said Rolando Blackman, an executive with the Dallas Mavericks and a former longtime Mavericks player himself as a four-time NBA All-Star.

The SBJ focused on each city’s business opportunities, the local economy and insight on each city from the executives that were interviewed. Dallas was the only city in the top 5 to rank first in all three categories.

“I truly have been preaching that Dallas is the number one sports business city for a very long time. It’s very rewarding that this data is coming out,” said Paul.

If you’ve read the headlines over the last few years, the new title should come as no surprise.

Officials say Texas’ lower taxes and other business incentives have led to population growth across the state – which in turn brings more opportunities for big headquarters and big events.

Besides being home to powerhouse teams and household names for professional and collegiate sports, DFW has secured big wins in other sports just in the last few years.

In 2022, professional tennis returned to Dallas when the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) relocated the New York Open to Dallas.

In 2019, the Professional Golfer's Association of America selected Frisco as the location to move its new headquarters from Florida. The Professional Bull Riders also moved its biggest event from Las Vegas to Fort Worth last year.

Professional Rugby is the newest kid on Dallas' block. Newly launched last year, the team is hoping Dallas can be a potential host for Rugby World Cup in 2031.

“To try to emulate the successes that everyone has had here on the stage is tantamount for us as an organization,” said Rodd Newhouse of the Dallas Jackals.

E-Sports has even gained momentum in North Texas.

And perhaps one of the biggest and most talked about wins as of late – Dallas securing a spot as one of 16 host cities for the FIFA World Cup in 2026. The accomplishment was made possible through a team effort between the Dallas Sports Commission, FC Dallas, and multiple organizations.

Not only do sports officials want to use this distinction to attract more events to North Texas on a regular basis but they also hope this can put them in good standing with FIFA officials as multiple cities await who will be selected to host a finals match.

“I think this positions us and poses a lot of opportunity for us moving forward. And I am hoping FIFA is listening. Because we still have some hopes that will be hosting a final or semifinal,” she said.

That's the next big wish on the list for Dallas Sports Commission and FC Dallas, who partnered with organizations like the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium and multiple venues across the region to serve as training and gameplay facilities for the world cup.

“It truly is the greatest global sport. Recently FIFA announced they’re going to take that tournament from 80 games – which was going to be the largest tournament ever in the history of the world cup – to 104,” said Hunt. "You have to think about that. There are over 7 million tickets that will be available for the world cup. This will be more than double any prior tournament.”

FIFA officials have been visiting North Texas routinely – including a recent visit last week – to tour facilities like AT&T Stadium, as it plans to make slight field improvements to meet FIFA guidelines.

“This is part of recognizing that we can host a gigantic international event right here in the metroplex, and do it with very little additional work. It’s something that is so unique to this North American bid specifically in the United States. The facilities are already built,” explained Hunt. “I think that’s been a big issue for FIFA with sustainability when you look at prior world cups and the massive expenditure. That doesn’t have that to happen. We’re ready to go now.”

FIFA plans to make several more visits before making a final decision later this year. Fair Park in Dallas is also considered to be the international broadcast headquarters for world media covering the events and we’ve learned a decision on that should be made over the summer.

With this new title, comes new hope and energy for more economic opportunities.

“This is just reaffirming where Dallas is in the sports landscape,” Hunt said.

The next big event is the WNBA’s Final Four in Dallas at American Airlines Center on March 31, for which the Dallas Sports Commission is searching for volunteers to help.

Then next year, the Texas Rangers will host the 2024 MLB All-Star Game at Globe Life Field.

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