Pizza Hut Park rounding into shape
a couple of deals we have pending agreements and deals where we are in the final stages of negotiating. I would say the only venue so far specific to soccer that has been able to generate this type of interest in the corporate community is The Home Depot Center," said FCD general manager Greg Elliott.
Each deal will respectively provide benefits and the ability to share resources for all involved. For the Minyards chain, fans will have a chance to picnic while watching soccer as well as providing naming for the food pavilion to boot.
The Belo Corporation will provide media outlets with diversity, as The Dallas Morning News, WFAA television and al dia (a Spanish-language newspaper) all fit in the umbrella of the corporation.
Not only will Coors be the signature alcoholic beverage of the stadium, they will also sponsor tournaments in an effort to promote community relations with FCD and the public.
In addition to about 20 home games for FCD over the course of a year, Pizza Hut Park will also be used for a variety of other events, one of the biggest uses as a big-name concert attraction. The facility features a permanent stage at one end.
"We are in the stages of negotiating those concerts right now and we will try to see if we can get a marquee act between now and the end of the 2005 calendar year," added Elliott.
The Hoops are closing in on Saturday's last ever game at the Cotton Bowl prior to the August 6 grand opening of Pizza Hut Park.
"It [the opening of the stadium] is five weeks away but we got some business to take care of before that," said FCD coach Colin Clarke.
What's at stake for the Red-and-White prior to moving into the new stadium? At a minimum, a perfect home record and first place in the Western Conference.
"For us to go 6-0 and to end our era at the Cotton Bowl would be tremendous for us and we are one win away from doing that. I think the fact of going undefeated at home and having a phenomenal road record through the first 3.5 months - that is the reason why we are at were at the top of the table and that's always been the goal," said Elliott.
"We would love to go unbeaten in the six games in the Cotton Bowl and would love to go unbeaten in the last one [against San Jose on Saturday] in particular and go out on a positive note," added Clarke.
The new stadium will also provide another bonus for soccer fans in the Dallas metropolitan area: the chance to see big-time clubs from around the world as is happening this year in other MLS cities with the imminent arrival of teams like Real Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea.
"Well, you are certainly going to see the onset of international matches and exhibitions unlike anything we have seen in this area I think in a long, long time," said Elliott. "We are certainly going to aim high and for the brass ring and that means world-class clubs are going to come over here not only to play matches but potentially base at our facility and train for a couple of weeks."
The size of the field will be advantageous to FCD, said Clarke.
"We are going to make a run at it being about the size of the Cotton Bowl," he said. "I think about the one in L.A. [The Home Depot Center]."
While the Cotton Bowl has certainly been home sweet home for the Hoops this season, there's no question the club can hardly wait to move into their new digs.
"It's an absolute, complete divergence of what they have ever seen in this area. We are putting in a tremendous video and sound system. The pitch is going to be world class. It's 180 degrees completely opposite than anything they have ever seen. We are starting to see some tangible reactions," said Elliott.
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.