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Frisco hoping to host more NCAA championship events
In December, Damani Leech, NCAA director of championships and alliances, revealed the Football Championship Game will remain at Frisco's FC Dallas Stadium until 2016. Photo by Kelsey Kruzich.
By Anthony Tosie, email@example.com, @anthonytosie
The city of Frisco has hosted the NCAA Football Championship Game the past three Januaries, but it's hoping to bring more NCAA championship events featuring other sports to the city.
Last week, city officials including Mayor Maher Maso and Council Member John Keating visited the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis in hopes of convincing the collegiate sports organization to bring such events to Frisco.
The meeting discussed a wide range of potential championships, although NCAA officials said some were unlikely to come to the city.
"We've had great success, as you all know, with the Division I championship game -- they're very pleased with our efforts," he told the council's audience. "We want to build on that. We don't have any commitments yet, but some of the things looked at were basketball, fencing, baseball and lacrosse, just to give you some idea on the sports we've looked at."
Keating added that gymnastics and wrestling are two of the NCAA's most popular sports and the organization didn't feel Frisco had the facilities to support championships for those sports yet.
Maso echoed Keating's thoughts, saying it "was a great meeting and we're still not done."
Frisco last hosted the NCAA Football Championship Game on Jan. 5. That game marked the end of the original three-year hosting contract between the NCAA and city, although a three-year contract extension was announced Dec. 20.
That game is estimated to have brought in about $5.9 million to the region this year. Two years ago, in the game's first time in Frisco, the game brought in $4 million, and last year it brought in about $5.8 million.
Other major sporting events the city hosts -- outside of games involving its own professional sports teams -- include the WOGA Classic gymnastics competition and this year's U.S. Elite Challenge trampoline and tumbling competition. The city also hosts several recreational and secondary-school-aged events such as the TAAF Winter Games of Texas.
Marla Roe, executive director of the Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, said last week's meeting also served as a recap event for the NCAA Football Championship Game.
"We prepare information in advance [for the meeting] and they give us feedback as well," she said. "It's an opportunity to sit down and talk about the strengths of what we're doing. It was a very positive meeting, and we're thankful the game will be back another three years."
Roe noted that the discussions of potentially bringing other NCAA championship events to the city are preliminary, as the bidding process won't begin until the summer.
When that process begins, Frisco will have a chance to place bids for specific championship events it'd like to bring to the city. Because several other cities will also be placing bids, however, there's no guarantee Frisco's bids will result in new events.
"We're looking at events that are the right size for Frisco -- such as the NCAA fencing championship and the women's basketball championship," Roe said. "Some of their events are obviously too large, so we wouldn't be able to host them. We're going to evaluate [the ones we could host] and go from there. Just trying to get in the national arena is key -- all these events drive significant economic impact to Frisco."
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