FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas continued their recent trend of off-field success Tuesday by announcing a new hero-level partnership in a press conference held in the northwest terraces of the newly christened Toyota Stadium.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Hunt Sports Group vice president Dan Hunt assured the assembled VIPs and media that it would run “significantly into the future.” Hunt also said that the partnership with Toyota will help enable recently discussed stadium improvements such as a partial roof along with expanded suites and premium seating.
“It will obviously help with those things," he said. "As we continue to grow, I know that the city is committed to helping improve this facility, so it’s all coming together."
Toyota Stadium joins the automobile giant's stable of soccer facilities that already includes the Chicago Fire's Toyota Park, the San Antonio Scorpions’ Toyota Field (NASL) and Toyota Stadium in Japan, home of the J-League’s Nagoya Grampus.
Brent Hillyer, vice president of marketing at Gulf States Toyota, said the naming agreements at soccer-focused facilities is a natural partnership for his company to make given the growth of soccer in the US and the younger demographic it pulls, calling FC Dallas a “major player in Dallas sports … and exceptional MLS brand.”
Clark and Dan Hunt both spoke eloquently Tuesday about their father Lamar’s vision for a successful domestic soccer league in the United States and the important role soccer-specific stadiums have played in realizing that vision. Dan Hunt went on to say that the complex here in the northern Metroplex is very special to him because it is the last project he worked on with his father before he passed away in 2006.
“I will never forget the day driving down into the stadium bowl when it was under construction,” Hunt remembered. “[We were] racing around and dodging the heavy dozers, doing one of the least safe things you can ever imagine, because dad was not a very good driver.”
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There is also a distinct possibility that another piece of Lamar Hunt’s storied soccer legacy could be seen in Toyota Stadium within the next couple of seasons: a retro Dallas Tornado third kit for FC Dallas, in homage to the NASL team the family patriarch owned from 1967 to 1981.
“We’ve talked about it,” Dan Hunt said in a recent discussion with MLSsoccer.com. “I know it’s not a possibility for 2014 given the cycles from the manufacturer [Adidas]. ... We’ve been talking to them and the message is for a third kit, potentially 2015.”