Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl to return; Visit Frisco hopes waning pandemic boosts economic impact

fans gathered at football game
Fans gather at the 2017 Frisco Bowl. (Courtesy Visit Frisco)

Fans gather at the 2017 Frisco Bowl. (Courtesy Visit Frisco)

After last year’s cancellation, college football bowl season will return to Frisco with the 2021 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. The city’s marketing arm is optimistic the sporting event can overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

Average economic impact of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl is about $3.5 million, according to Wesley Lucas, senior communications manager at Visit Frisco. Last year, however, a conservative total of $1.1 million was expected to be collected from the yearly game before its cancellation due to reduced seating capacity and smaller travel parties.

Josh Dill, Visit Frisco director of sports and events, said the organization is hopeful this year’s game can reach the potential $3.5 million economic impact.

“Like in previous years, the impact will be heavily dependent on the teams that are selected,” Dill said. “We hope, given the successful reopening of Texas and Frisco’s proven ability to safely host sporting events, the adverse effects of the pandemic, as it relates to events, will continue to lessen.”

The recent NCAA Division I Football Championship held May 16 netted an estimated $2.4 million, down from its normal $9.5 million, according to Dill.



That decrease is due to a variety of reasons, he said, including the NCAA’s capacity restriction of 50%, lower hotel room rates and a shorter length of stay for teams and fans. But Dill also noted that many attendees and national media said the game signaled a “return to normalcy” for college football.

Dill said the NCAA FCS Championship game brings hundreds of college athletes, coaches and thousands of fans to Frisco each year. The city, however, also receives national exposure thanks to wide-reaching media coverage.

“Residents of Frisco have such a strong sense of civic pride and hosting major events such as this further enhances that sentiment and puts a spotlight on how great Frisco is,” Dill said.

This year’s bowl game will feature two teams from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference or the Sun Belt Conference, according to a news release from Toyota Stadium.

The 2021 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl will be played at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 at Toyota Stadium. Tickets go on sale Aug. 30 to the general public, and a VIP presale of premium seats can be purchased at www.thefriscobowl.com/tickets

By Matt Payne
Matt Payne reports on Frisco City Hall and its committees, Collin County Commissioners and McKinney business. His experience includes serving as online content editor at Fort Worth Magazine and city editor at the Killeen Daily Herald. He is a 2017 graduate of the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton.


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