Thursday, December 20, 2012
Frisco scores three more years as host of NCAA football championship
The stadium's perfect, but it was the fan support that gave Frisco the edge.
FRISCO The NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game will make its home in Frisco for three more years, the NCAA announced Wednesday.
At a press conference for this season's game, which will take place in the city for the third consecutive year, Damani Leech, NCAA director of championships and alliances, revealed the championship will remain in Frisco until 2016.
Three factors were considered when deciding whether or not to come back to Frisco, Leech said: the atmosphere of the event, the quality of the facility, and the experience of the student-athletes participating in the game.
"The city of Frisco and Team Frisco have delivered in spades on all three regards," Leech said. "For that reason, it gives me great pleasure to announce we'll be coming back here for the championship game for three more years -- through the year 2016."
After the announcement, Leech said the decision to keep the game in Frisco was an easy decision given the partnership the NCAA's had with the city and organizing committee.
"As we evaluated our criteria on whether to bid [the game] out or renegotiate with Frisco, we decided we really want to stay here," he said. "The stadium, for one, is absolutely fantastic. Everything from the quality of the field to the stadium's size -- which is really appropriate for our game -- is great. The community is also big reason we're bringing the game back, too."
Prior to coming to Frisco in 2011, the FCS title game had spent the previous 13 years in Chattanooga, Tenn. Leech said the majority of FCS programs are based in the eastern United States, which was the only concern the NCAA had about moving the game to Frisco.
When the NCAA changed the layoff from the semifinals to the finals from one week to three weeks, however, the decision to move the game to Frisco was an easy one, Leech said.
"Once that structure was changed, we knew it was plenty of time for fans to schedule their travel arrangements," he said.
This year's game is projected to have an economic impact of more than $5.9 million on the region, the city announced.
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said the city's wanted to make the game a long-term arrangement with the NCAA since it first agreed to a deal with the organization four years ago.
"After we signed the first agreement, we started talking about what was next," he said. "Every step leading to this announcement has been very positive, and the NCAA has been a great partner. The negotiations never ended, and they won't end now -- we want this to be the home of the [title game] for a very, very long time."
While the game's return to Frisco is being celebrated by city officials, Maso said the NCAA's decision will benefit more than just Frisco.
"I want to really stress that this is not just about Frisco -- it's a regional thing. If you ask our neighboring cities like Plano, they'll tell you their hotels are full, too," he said. "We view this as a regional win; everyone benefits from it. This game means a lot to the Frisco community and our region."
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