Frisco is Not Your Average Sports City
Frisco is Not Your Average Sports City
You can’t talk about all the things Frisco has to offer without talking about sports. Our guests for this episode know first-hand how sports weave into the shopping, arts, dining, and entertainment options in Frisco.
Cori Powers and Wesley Lucas with Visit Frisco sit down with Hustle and Pro to talk about their personal sports interests and the City of Frisco’s recent project to show off some of our assets.
We also learn the story of how the “Sports City USA” nickname came about. Teaser alert: one of this episode’s guests was responsible for it!
Enjoy this episode and other episodes of Hustle and Pro in our archives.
[01:08] Cori & Wesley Quick Hits
[04:46] The City that Plays
[14:28] Impacts of sports
[17:54] Sports City USA
Resources within this episode:
- Visit Frisco: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Kelly Walker: Bio | Instagram @kelly_walkertexas | Twitter: @kelly_walker_TX
This episode is sponsored by:
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
This episode is sponsored by Visit Frisco. All work and no play? Not in Sports City, USA. Frisco might be known for its sports, but it’s our array of out-of-left-field, totally unique attractions that really make our city a home-run. So, step up to the plate and have a ball in your own backyard with these suggested ways to play. The Counter Play: here, the ultimate play starts at the checkout counter and continues with over 9 million square feet of shopping your way. The Play Action Pass: a fun day out that’s also educational? At KidsZania, there are more ways than one to have a ball. Frisco, The City That Plays.
Hustle & Pro is all about sports and all about Frisco. Today, we’re talking to our friends at Visit Frisco, Cori Powers and Wesley Lucas. Welcome. Thanks for having us. Thank you. Yeah, thanks. I’m excited to talk to you guys. So, um, we’re going to learn a little bit more about Visit Frisco and what you guys have going on right now, but because Hustle & Pro’s all about sports, I want to know about you guys or gals, um, and specifically about sports. So kind of like if you guys have any sporty backgrounds or not. So, um, just off the top, who are some of your favorite athletes? And let’s – so since our voices all sound the same, let’s start with Cori. So Cori, you’re the Director of Marketing & Communications for Visit Frisco. So Cori, who’s your favorite athlete?
Oh, easy Peyton Manning. I actually named my daughter Peyton after Peyton Manning. Um, my grandfather actually played for the Baltimore Colts. So we’ve always been a Colts family growing up and I lived in Indiana. So obviously it makes perfect sense. Wow. So, Peyton Manning.
That’s a no-brainer for you then. What about you Wesley and Wesley? You are the Senior Communications Manager for Visit Frisco. That’s right. So what about you? Who’s your favorite athlete?
Oh my gosh. It’s tough to just pick one. Um, I’m a golfer, so Tiger Woods is amazing. Um, Serena Williams, I mean, as female athletes go, she’s gotta be the number one. I’m a big Saints fan. So Drew Brees, but also like when I think about just athletic ability, I’ve always thought that Michael Phelps, like to be able to win as many gold medals as he did.
Unbelievable. Like yeah, watching that, that run of all of his Olympic run, those were just incredible moments. He’s one of those athletes that to me made me watch a sport I otherwise didn’t really watch and didn’t understand the, you know, the nuances and like one of those that like you are sucked in because of like what they are doing. So those are, yeah, those are impactful athletes. So then Wesley, um, um, I’m taking it since you’re nodding you, weren’t a swimmer. What did you do? Did you play sports growing up?
Yeah, I actually, I played baseball when I was really little. I didn’t want to play softball. I played baseball. So that’s kind of where my love for baseball comes from, but I’ve been playing golf since I was probably about 9 or 10 years old. So I grew up playing golf, did all through, you know, high school. Wanted to play in college, but I loved it so much that I didn’t want it to be competitive anymore. So golf is probably my favorite sports to play. Baseball, football, probably to watch.
Golf in college. Yeah. It’s, it’s a level that not that it’s not fun for those athletes, but if you’re a dedicated college golfer, that’s your life. A hundred percent.
Yeah. And I kind of want to do enjoy college, so I, I didn’t want it to be competitive anymore. I wanted to enjoy the game. Yeah.
That’s a hard decision. I talked to a lot of high school athletes or people that have, um, already, maybe played a year in college and changed their mind after that because they realize it’s not what they expected. It, it takes away the experience that they were hoping to get out of college. So I, I hear ya. Um, Cori, what about you? What did you, I know you have football in your family, but what did you personally do in sports?
I played volleyball through high school. Um, club volleyball, school volleyball. Um, really that was it.
Just a one track mind. Well, it’s like the one thing I felt like I didn’t learn how to play. Um, Wesley, you and my sister both played baseball instead of softball. She was, she has like curly brown hair and was really short when she was little. So she just looked like a boy and played on the boys T-ball and baseball teams. And then when I started getting interested in it, it was more about my age, like 8 or so. Uh, we ended up on the same softball team. So, so I converted her over so that we could both play together and our dad coached and everything. So, but she was the same way she did it. She just wanted to play the baseball part, you know, not necessarily softball and it wasn’t, there weren’t enough girls to, to make like entire softball leagues right then. So it was just on the cusps. So I get that. Okay. So, um, you both work in Communications for Visit Frisco who also happens to just be recently launching something called The City That Plays. So that’s what I want to talk to you guys about. So I guess just first of all, kind of tell me what that means, The City That Plays.
Yeah. So, um, we just launched this campaign at the end of January and The City That Plays revolved around, um, a lot of research that we did, um, before launching the campaign. So we talked to a lot of people, we did interviews and surveys of constituents, city council. Um, and a lot of people just knew us as Sports City, USA. And play is very synonymous with sports, but we also in Frisco have so much more to offer. You know, we have great amenities, we have great attractions, great dining. Um, so we wanted a campaign that fully encompassed, um, the sports and also everything else that Frisco has to offer. So, you know, we took into account that we’re in a COVID time, people are staying home, they’re heavy. It’s, it’s just not, you know, a really playful time, but we’re trying to bring that out right now. So we see the light at the end of the tunnel, right? There’s a vaccine and people are getting it. Um, so-
Yeah and you can’t just stop everything. Especially In a job like yours. We as locals and just, you know, living here, um, we can stop doing some of the things in 2020 that we had to stop doing, but you plan ahead. Right? Most of the things you’re working on are not happening tomorrow, they’re happening way in advance. So you guys keep going and are trying to think of the safe plan to roll out, to keep things moving here. Right.
Exactly. Exactly. And a lot of our play is revolved around, you know, like what outside attractions at Frisco has. We have some great parks and walking trails and outside, um, art sculpture garden. Um, so it’s not necessarily, you know, just everything like inside, it’s outside, inside. Yeah.
Which is the beauty of, I mean, we have that. That’s unique to some major sport cities in this country. We have a lot of outdoor space and activities compared to some markets that can’t necessarily say that all times of the year.
Absolutely. It’s been a blessing to be very flexible with this. Absolutely. Um, anything else?
No, I mean, I think that’s, that’s, you know, you hit the nail on the head there. It’s just, Frisco is such a, a huge, um, pillar of our community. It’s what people know our destination for. So why not take that key pillar and use it to amplify the other things that we want to showcase, like our shopping and our art and our food and the attractions and all the family fun.
Yeah, because sports, I mean, I don’t know. Um, we’ll talk about this in a minute. I’m curious how it plays in. For somebody like me, it plays in major of when we plan activities. It’s probably around a RoughRiders game, a tournament, like, coming up, an FC Dallas game or our own kids’ games. I mean, there’s so much happening. And so families like ours, the sports piece is like the center of it. And then it’s like, Oh, we’ll be there for that. Where can we go get a coffee that morning? Where can we get food? Or there’s a shopping right there. You know, that’s sort of our, the kind of the nucleus of our plan. So while that’s not how everybody is, that’s kind of why this, um, I don’t know if that’s a tagline or a promo, a campaign or whatever, but The City That Plays, that’s why it like talks to me because that’s how my family works. Right. So that’s also why, um, when I first saw it, I think I was most curious about it said that, you know, you guys had some plays that you thought of some of the creative side of this from some of our local teams. So I saw FC Dallas and Texas Legends and the Cowboys. So I thought, “Ooh, what does that mean?” So what does that mean? How did that come to life with you guys working with some of those teams to think up this? Yeah.
Yeah. So, um, I’ll talk about the first iteration, and then you can talk about that, how the teams actually got, um, Wesley can talk about the teams actually participating, but, um, we worked with an agency to come up with this concept. The City That Plays the incorporates act- like plays. X’s and O’s with some movement that then corresponds to some type of another action within Frisco. So, um, the Counter Play is a shopping picture. Um, we have the screenplay, which is a football play, X’s and O’s, but then you see a family at the video game museum. And when we saw first concept, it really was just kind of some Google images X’s and O’s, and we showed it to some of our sports fans in Frisco and they all were like, “Oh, nope, that’s not a real play.” Oh, that wouldn’t work. So the play part okay. To like, make sure, so we legitimize the play part. Exactly. We’re Sports City, USA. So we have to portray sports in the correct light. Um, and so, you know, Wesley, you can hop in on how we actually got to that point.
Yeah. I mean, obviously we, we have great partnerships here in Frisco with our professional sports teams and our organization. So we wanted to include them in this project. So we actually reached out to all of our sports teams and had like a big Zoom call and we just, we presented the campaign and said, look, here’s what we need. We need plays. We need legitimate plays so that if a Cowboys fan sees this Cowboys-specific play on this ad, they’re going to say, “Wow, look, they took the time to like really put a legitimate play there.” ‘Cause you know, they would notice it. They would totally notice because they noticed when it wasn’t a legitimate play. So we had to put real plays there. So um the Cowboys, FC Dallas, the Legends, the RoughRiders, PGA of America, Frisco Fighters who haven’t even had a season yet, were, you know, jumping at the opportunity to help us. And so we got plays, we got, you know, basic plays like The Screenplay or, you know, the, I’m trying to think like the Play, Action, Pass or the Breakaway from the Dallas Stars, they were even on the call. So we got all of these plays, but put a little twist of Frisco twist on it. And um, you know, they helped us with the wording. They helped us with lingo, but what was really cool, the Cowboys, one of the coolest things I think we got was the Cowboys actually gave us some plays from Tom Landry’s playbook. Oh my gosh. And they’re in his handwriting. Oh my gosh. So those aren’t, we haven’t implemented those yet into some of the creative, but we have some ideas. One of them is actually called the Frisco Play, which is super unique
What? How did that even-
No idea. We need to find a story on that, but it just, it’s just such a cool like element to really show that personalization of how committed we are to our sports partners. But again, amplifying those other elements of Frisco that people enjoy.
Wow. I can’t wait to hear more about that. That’s really cool. So, I mean, FC Dallas, the Legends, the RoughRiders, the Cowboys, the Stars, PGA, and Frisco Fighters. So that one doesn’t roll off the tongue yet. Cause I haven’t like, you know, been there and consumed it myself yet. I mean, how often do you guys get all those teams on a Zoom call?
I don’t think that’s ever happened. Um, we had, we had a few that couldn’t make the big group one, so we just did one-off calls with them separately, but it was just, they all jumped at the opportunity to help us with this. That’s so neat. I mean, it was when we first started these conversations, the Cowboys were still in season. So I mean, They were busy. They had, that’s not easy to get them to, the attention. No, it’s not. So it was really cool. We were very, um, very thankful for their support and that they were able to help us with this because we’re really excited to share this. And we think that it has the ability to last, you know, a few years. I mean, this is a campaign that has legs to last a long time, for sure.
Yeah. I mean I saw the, the Counter Play. That’s the one right. Counter Play. Yeah. And I think I saw Tumbleweed as the photo. Yeah. I love Tumbleweed. I know they’re great guys. Right. I have my, I wore my Tumbleweed t-shirt. We’ll have a picture so that, to prove it, but I wore my tumbleweed t-shirt that says Frisco, um, for this episode recording, because I love them and I love Frisco. But, um, so yeah, when I saw that, I thought, “Oh, that’s so cool and creative to see their new storefront.” And then I think, I think in the Sweet Spot Play, I saw the Finca, which is their neighbor, which we’re kind of now getting obsessed with because when we do- it’s funny, like I said, we, we plan things around sports. Like if we’re at field house and have a basketball or a break or something, we’ll run over to Tumbleweed, shop, and then my kids are loving the stuff at La Finca. And so yeah, I thought I spotted them on your campaign too. We have a lot of good coffee spots in Frisco. So many. So many and it’s one of my favorite things. So, um, I’m all about it. More, more coffee, but I don’t even drink caffeine. I drink decaf, which it’s crazy. They’re like, what are you ordering decaf? Like, I dunno. I just like the coffee part. I don’t need the caffeine taste.
To that point. We, um, before launching this campaign, we did a two day photo shoot, um, around town because we wanted some new creative that would go along with, you know, what we were trying to portray. And we reached out to, you know, Tumbleweed, um, Bittersweet Ivy, DiDi’s. We reached out to Tumbleweed. Um, I’m trying to think of some of the other ones. Oh, we were at The Star, we shot at The Star. Which isn’t easy to shoot at. I mean, they’re pretty strict about, you know, filming and photo policies, but again, they jumped at the opportunity to showcase The Star and the entertainment district. And that was what I was just, I started here in February of last year and I was just-
Oh my gosh, February of 2020? We can get into that another time. Yeah. That’s some timing.
Yeah, the partners here are just so eager to allow us to come in and shoot and no restrictions. You know, obviously we, we, you know, collaborated with them and made sure that we were portraying them in a perfect, great light that they were okay with. We shared our assets when we were done, but the partnerships here and these businesses were just so happy to have us and, and so accommodating. We cannot, we could not have done this without them.
That’s awesome. It doesn’t surprise me. I mean, you mentioned, though, Wesley, um, The Star and I mean, people, you know, casually take snap pictures from there all the time, but yeah, I can imagine getting a, a legit photoshoot coordinated there, but I mean, I, my guess would be that having The Star there, the headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys is such a major draw for people that have never been here. They would probably never know that Frisco was here or ever stop in for whatever reason that they’re in town. Maybe they’re not even, because I’ve been wandering around there and talk to people as they were wandering, you know, asking questions. I could tell whatever- I’m one of those people that will ask if they need help and want to tell them all about the town and stuff. And they just come to literally like stand out there on the turf and see The Star. It’s crazy. Do you guys know, or what are your ideas on like how much the Cowboys impact tourism here?
So we don’t have an exact number as far as like how many visitors they bring in or anything like that, but just some like fast facts, like whenever they were building The Star, EDC actually did a economic study and the 30-year economic impact of The Star is estimated to be at $23 billion as far as an economic impact to-
Almost a billion a year, if it pans out that way.
Exactly. Um, and if The Star itself supports or eventually will support when it’s fully built out about 4,500 jobs. So think about that. I mean, that’s a lot of people, jobs, a lot of economic impact into the community.
Cause that, that 23 billion, I mean, that’s not going to the Cowboys. That’s, you’re talking like people that come here, stay in a hotel, spend money in a restaurant. Yeah. Shop. Do I mean- Little concert anything. Yeah. Basically anything, even if, I mean, like anything they’re spending, if it’s in Frisco that’s kind of what they’re talking about because I do see, you know, not going to get into like haters or whatever, but not everybody loves everything that the Cowboys do. Right. But I mean our city, whether you care or don’t care, what the Cowboys are doing, our city is still benefiting from them being here. Right. Yeah. Especially financially. So then that’s just the Cowboys. That’s just one of the, what, seven teams that live or play here that we mentioned while ago. I don’t think locals realize how important it is to bring different sports events here. On top of having all of those here that live here, people are coming up from Dallas to go to FC Dallas games and this and that. So, I mean, is booking sports events here in town, is that a major, major focus for- huge focus – for you guys to bring people here
And, you know, um, Josh Jill, I know he’s been on the podcast before. He is our director of sports and events and he and his team, uh, Chuck, are really great about working with sports events right-holders to bring those events here. And we’ve been really fortunate during the last few months of COVID to have a lot of events that have relocated from other states that may still have restrictions. Um, you know, we’re hosting some hockey tournaments, we still have some basketball tournament’s coming up. You know, it’s a huge economic driver for our community and it’s putting those tax dollars and keeping them here in Frisco. So, I mean, for example, like the Frisco Bowl on an average year, it brings in about $3.5 million economic impact to the city. FCS game is right around 9 million. So really every year, 9 million economic impact. And obviously with COVID this year, it’ll be a little different sure. With, you know, limited capacity and less folks traveling, but still that’s, that’s a great, um, keeping that money here is what is important. And it benefits our local businesses, our hotels, our local shops. I mean, anybody from, you know, a gas station is getting that economic impact. So it’s important to- for sure- when we can.
I din’t think about that. But yeah. Um, I’m curious, y’all might not know the answer to this, but I’m always curious about our Sports City, USA, name. I mean, I think it’s a given nickname. Right. But, and I don’t know if y’all embrace that or not. I use it like I hashtag it. I think it’s awesome. Do you, is that a, like, is that a thing that you guys use for Visit Frisco or is it-
Kelly, you are talking to the person who implemented that.
No way. Wesley? Seriously? I had no idea. I thought it was just like- first of all, I thought it had been here longer than you. You’re young, so-
So I’ve been, I’ve been with Visit Frisco for five years and Sports City, USA, was born in 2017. So I’d been there for about a year. Um, two of my former colleagues, we were just having like this creative brainstorming session and we were talking about sports and just kind of, you know, destination and destination marketing. There’s this kind of trend where cities like to stake their flag and say, “I’m the capital of this.” Or “I’m the city of lakes.” It’s a good label. Virginia’s for lovers. Yeah.
Oh, okay. Who says? They say.
So we wanted, we wanted that flag. We wanted something that we could say and obviously sports, we have that. And so I actually brought up the idea. I said, “you know, guys, it’s kind of crazy that for as a small mid-sized city of a major metro city, that we have as many professional sports teams in our city. There’s five, we have this major affiliate or major professional sports team of the five major leagues in our city. Do any other cities in the US have that? So I sat down, I made a big old Google spreadsheet and I actually started with MLS because they have the least number of teams in that league. So that’s like your common- yeah. So I looked up every single MLS team and where they played or were headquartered if it was a different site, then from those two cities or those two locations figured out if they also have NHL, NFL, MLB, or an NBA team.
My gosh, at the time. Yeah. It took a while. But, um, I did all the research and Frisco was the only city and it had to be the city proper. It could be Dallas, it could be Arlington. It couldn’t be like St. Paul. Like in the boundaries. Exactly how to be in that city Proper and Frisco was the only city that had one team from each of the five major leagues. We had to put a little ice ball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, yeah. All five. The only one. The only city. Wow. We had to put a little asterisks next to it for a little while because when the Rams and the Chargers were both playing in LA temporarily, instead of Inglewood LA had it, yeah. I need to look it up, but I don’t know if all of their like headquarters and obviously the new stadiums in Inglewood since it’s not an LA proper, but that was kind of where Sports City, USA, started. And from there we realized that
I mean, LA doesn’t want to be known for that. They don’t need that.
But, um, Sports City, USA, is so much more than our professional sports. It’s our organizations, the associations that are headquartered here, UFC soccer, North Texas soccer, WOGA, Kurt Thomas Gymnastics, um, you know, com uh, Southern Conference, all of the different associations. And then of course our medical facilities, like EXOS or Baylor’s research center you’re right.
I mean, the pro sports is sort of the marquee thing. Right. But when you live here, you know, like there’s so much more people that don’t even go to any pro sports still have a sports life here.
Exactly. For sure. Exactly. Well, and then, yeah,
Like, well, and I can’t help that. Sorry to interrupt. But like, just recently we had a small business owner of an MMA place here. I mean, professional UFC hall of fame fighters that like run businesses here. And he has locations like in Australia and other parts of the world, but he lives here. Right. It’s amazing. The things that are, we have a lot of hidden sports gyms here.
100%. Yeah. And I think too, like, you know, I guess it was in 2000, the 2001 or 2011, the men’s journal, you know, best place to raise an athlete. They’ve never redone that study. So technically we’re still, we still got it.
Best place to raise an athlete. Is that what you said? Yeah. Guilty. I mean, it’s hard as a parent to, to not get sucked into the really competitive nature of raising an athlete. But, um, we try to stay a little bit down the middle. We play a lot of sports, but we try not to be overly competitive about them. Right. You mentioned, um, Cori, you played volleyball. Like we have a high school volleyball player, but we don’t play club volleyball. We just play high school. And this is probably going to be it. Cause she’s probably not going to keep, you have the ability to keep playing. But, um, that was a goal, like get on a high school team. And, um, and then she’s switched to learn lacrosse, you know, different sports. And, but we do a lot, like people that don’t live here, probably look at me and go, “Oh my gosh, you guys have too many kids sports.” We only have two kids, but they each play one to two things at a time. And sometimes things overlap like basketball, just overlapped a little with baseball and then we have clubs soccer. So it’s a lot, but it is a great, like the resources here are just amazing. And just the people that know sports and want to be in sports. I mean, our baseball coach doesn’t have a kid on the team. He just, he’s older and his kids played college baseball. And like, they live here too now. So they all coach like it’s kids and their dad who just coached these little league guys because they want to keep helping kids learn how to play baseball. Right. It’s just so neat. There’s so many things. And then like with FISD, our athletes that play school sports, man, the things that they have at their disposal, again, back to The Star and some of the, um, medical stuff going on there and baseline concussion testing. And there’s just, there’s so many reasons why I agree it is the best place to raise an athlete.
And, and, you know, it was interesting when we did our research for this campaign. Um, a lot of people did talk about that as well. They talked about, you know, our school system and the resources that our, our kids in the school system have for sports and athletics and education and how important that was. So again, just another reason why we had to put sports within our campaign as a pillar of it and not disregard it, or assume that everybody knew that too. You know? So it’s definitely something that, that will continue to be a huge part of this campaign.
Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean, as people come here from other states, they might not be aware of it. Um, so yeah, they’ll, they’ll figure it out once they get here, though. I don’t know how you can live here and not realize there’s a lot of sports going on, but that’s just cause that’s my lens. So I don’t know. Maybe people do, maybe they do.
And you know, another thing we saw too, was that, you know, a lot of people do what you do, where, you know, your vacations or your weekends are built around sports and sporting events. Um, you know, I will say before the pandemic, the shutdown in March of last year, that women’s soccer game was the- SheBelieves- yes, it was the highest source of traffic that we saw in like a year span. You know, we just saw this blip of like, everybody came for that game. And that was obviously right before they shut everything down. Right. That does. Yes. Yes.
That’s an awesome game, tournament, whatever you call the SheBelieves. That was just, they were just, just had them on the TV last week. They just played and they’re dominating and they win, but they are a source of inspiration for so many little girls around here. I love it. It’s awesome. Well, thank you guys for coming in. Yeah. I just wanted to learn a little more about what we see when we see The City That Plays around town and on Visit Frisco, Facebook and websites and everything. Now you guys know what that means. So thanks for telling our audience all about it. Thanks so much. Yeah. And I heard you say Chuck, right? Josh and Chuck. He hasn’t been on here yet. So I met him last year during a, um, Frisco Classic event. And he, I think he said he would come on. So you guys, now you have to pass the torch. Now you’ve Josh. Now you now help me get Chuck in here. Cause I’d be, I think he has a lot of good stuff to say.
He’s got a lot of good stories. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He knows everybody.
Right. So I’m looking forward to meeting or having him on here one day. So thank you guys for coming in and thank you for listening to this episode of Hustle & Pro. Remember to subscribe however you listen to podcasts and we’ll see you next week.