We’ve spent some time since last Thursday’s Dallas Mavericks celebration basking in the glory of team’s success—and closely examining the positive impact such activities have on downtown.
Dallas has long been known as a city driven by sports. From the legacy of the Cotton Bowl to the popularity of the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers, international awareness of “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys, and of course, our Mavs, these institutions bring the community together and provide real economic impact—a combined $900 million for the region, in fact.
Taking a more micro view, we can see, particularly over the last year, how downtown has become the hub for sports-related activities, putting us on the map nationally as a top-tier city.
In the last 12 months the North Texas region has hosted the NBA All Star game, Super Bowl XLV, the World Series, and the NBA finals. In 2012, Dallas will host the media summit for the London Olympics. In 2014, the NCAA Final Four will come to the area. Although some of these events take place outside of downtown, the activity, excitement, and infusions into the city center’s economy are undeniable. Direct benefits are felt in our hotels, shops, and restaurants. Indirectly, the national and international media have steadily held their eye on our skyline, exposing new markets to all that Dallas has to offer.
More than 250,000 people filled downtown’s streets last Thursday for the Maverick’s victory parade. In the final games leading up to the win, Main Street was bumper-to-bumper with fans celebrating their team in the heart of the city. Restaurants and pubs were brimming, residents and employees were flocking to the streets, and tens of thousands of others were drawn from across the region to discover a multitude of new developments in the area.
What the newcomers see is a renewed downtown, the result of more than 35,000 residents, 135,000 employees, and more than 350 shops and restaurants. They also see cranes—yes, we’re counting them again, in celebration of the nearly complete Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, set to open next March; the City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District; the Perot Museum of Nature and Science; the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel; The Park (Woodall Rodgers Park); Museum Tower; and Belo Garden. We expect a few more cranes to be standing high in the skyline before the end of the year with at least two new residential projects set to break ground.
The relationship between development and these sports initiatives may not be immediately evident. But if you think back a decade ago to our loss of the Boeing headquarters and its resonating reason—a “dead” downtown—then compare that to what our new companies are now saying as to why they are moving here—a “vibrant” downtown—the correlation becomes clearer.
Sports bring activity, community, and again, real positive impact that betters the quality of life for all. For that reason, I want to thank organizations like the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau who understand this correlation and focus a great deal of effort on bringing sports-related activities and conventions to the region. Recognition also goes to the Dallas Police Department, which so expertly managed last week’s parade, as well as the Super Bowl, All Star game, and other related activities.
Like I often say, “As goes downtown, so goes Dallas.” And in this case, as we bask in the afterglow of the Mavericks’ victory, we can also revel in the future success of our teams, our city, and our downtown.
John F. Crawford is president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. Contact him at [email protected]