It is no secret that here at Local Profile we are big sports fans and try our darndest to keep up to date with every sports-related development. So last May, when Dallas mayor Eric Johnson responded to a tweet from NFL on CBS pitching his idea of bringing new teams to the city, we couldn’t but pay close attention. After all, many professional teams are based all around Collin County.
Well, not if Jerry Jones has anything to do with it. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, the number one most valuable team in the NFL according to Forbes, is vehemently against mayor Eric Johnson’s project and he expressed as much during an interview with the Dallas Morning News. According to him, bringing another team to the city would water down the interest Dallas has in the Cowboys. Given the influence Jones holds on the league, his views could very well bring down Johnson’s plans.
But Johnson was not just talking, because after sharing these ideas on Twitter, his team released a memorandum announcing the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Sports Recruitment and Retention, which stated, “The City of Dallas has already lost out on too many professional sports-related economic development opportunities over the years.”
For example, the “Dallas” Cowboys are based in the city of Frisco and play in the City of Arlington. FC Dallas is also based in Frisco. The “Dallas” Wings also play in Arlington. What’s more, the Professional Golfers’ Association of America no longer hosts any tournaments in Dallas, as the AT&T Byron Nelson is now played in McKinney after moving from Trinity Forest Golf Club, southeast of downtown Dallas.
Looks like despite what the names of many teams might tell you, only two kept their headquarters and arenas in Dallas: the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. “However, both franchises’ leases at the American Airlines Center end in 2031, and we should begin discussions soon to ensure they remain in the City of Dallas” the memorandum continued.
Even though the Dallas brand seems to be profitable for many sports teams, the city might not be benefiting from it as much and Johnson is making plans to change exactly that. Tristan Hallman, chief of policy and communications for the mayor, told The Dallas Morning News, that “Mayor Johnson believes Dallas should be part of any conversation about potential NFL relocations or expansions”.
Johnson has also made the point that Dallas’ is about to become the third biggest metro in the US, and the only one with just one professional team. “If LA and NY can both support NFC and an AFC team, then Dallas, the capital of football, surely can!” tweeted Johnson.
So far the mayor’s Twitter recruitment campaign has targeted the Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At first glance, you could see this as a conflict of interests between a mayor looking after the city’s best interest and a sports mogul that is less than thrilled to get competition.
One of the Committee’s tasks is to analyze “our city’s competitive advantages for — as well as potential barriers to — attracting and retaining professional sports franchises and major sporting events.” So the first question that comes to mind is: what will the city of Dallas offer these new coming teams? A fan base seems too little of an offer, especially if we keep in mind that most teams receive some kind of public subsidy.
While stadiums and mega-events promise a boost to local economies and job and income creation in exchange for these public subsidies, a 2008 study comparing 20 years of research on the matter of the economic impact of professional sports franchises on the local economy concluded that “the large and growing peer-reviewed economics literature on the economic impacts of stadiums, arenas, sports franchises, and sports mega-events has consistently found no substantial evidence of increased jobs, incomes, or tax revenues for a community associated with any of these things.”