Dallas mayor Eric Johnson caused a stir last week when he pushed for the idea of a second NFL in team to join the Dallas Cowboys in North Texas, preferably based in southern Dallas.
The possibility of that happening and earning the blessing of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is slim and none, with slim already out door.
But Johnson remains undeterred.
And he doubled down on his mission Tuesday when he announced the creation of a City Council committee focused on attracting and retaining professional sports franchises in the city limits.
Johnson created the committee — the Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Sports Recruitment and Retention — via a memorandum to his colleagues on the City Council.
“Dallas is the best sports city in the country right now,” said Johnson, who will serve as the committee’s chairman. “But for too long, Dallas has been too passive when it comes to attracting and retaining professional sports franchises. Dallas is a big-league city, and this new committee will help us compete at the highest level.”
Johnson pushed the idea of a second NFL team based in southern Dallas because North Texas is on pace to overtake the Chicago metropolitan area as the third-largest in the nation.
The two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles, have two NFL teams each.
The Dallas-Fort Worth region — which Johnson calls “the mecca of football” — would be the largest market in the country without two professional National Football League franchises.
The committee will explore that idea and more.
Johnson wants the committee to discuss strategies for using the city’s existing assets and opportunities for keeping the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars franchises in Dallas, attracting expansion teams, and winning relocations of existing professional sports franchises and major events.
“The City of Dallas has already lost out on too many professional sports-related economic development opportunities over the years,”Johnson wrote in the memo. “The City of Dallas boasts incredible assets and presents amazing opportunities for any professional sports franchise. It is long past time for the City of Dallas to play to win these franchises and events. That means we must be more proactive, assertive, and strategic. And we must develop a game plan that enhances our competitiveness internationally, nationally, and within our own region, which is the fastest-growing major metropolitan area in the United States.”
He noted that the Dallas Cowboys are based in Frisco and play in Arlington. FC Dallas plays Frisco. The Texas Rangers play in Arlington in a brand-new stadium “that should have been built in downtown Dallas.”
The Dallas Wings also play in Arlington. The PGA no longer hosts a tournament in Dallas, as the AT&T Byron Nelson is now played in McKinney.
The council members on the committee are Tennell Atkins, Adam Bazaldua, Paula Blackmon and Casey Thomas.
The committee will also focus on strategies to facilitate and encourage the participation of historically underrepresented groups — such as African-Americans, Latinos, and women — in equity ownership of any new professional sports franchises.
Other potential considerations include:
The renovation of historic Cotton Bowl Stadium to National Football League standards and the Fair Park Coliseum to WNBA standards.
The development of Hensley Field into a professional sports stadium site, a world headquarters, and/or a practice facility similar to The Star in Frisco.
Potential public ownership models — like the publicly owned Green Bay Packers — for a new professional sports franchise in Dallas.