Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Toyota Stadium 9200 World Cup Way Frisco, TX 75034
Year Opened: 2005
Bowling North of Dallas
College football fans know that a lot of bowl games are not very well-attended, in part because many of the teams play so far from home, but also because some of the games are not very meaningful, or feature subpar teams, or perhaps the weather is just too darn cold in December.
All of that said, the Frisco Bowl may have found the perfect recipe – played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, home of FC Dallas and with a capacity of only 20,500, the Frisco Bowl doesn’t have to sell many tickets for the stadium to fill up, and at least in its inaugural year, the Frisco Bowl brought in two relatively close teams, allowing fans the chance to see their teams take the field one last time before season’s end.
Food & Beverage 5
The concessions at the Frisco Bowl are absolutely fantastic – not only does Toyota Stadium have a wide variety of options at its concessions stands, including plenty of alcohol selections, but the staff also brings in a host of food trucks, to add some local flavor to the menu.
The main stands offer most of your typical stadium fare, such as hot dogs, nachos, burgers, brats, chicken tenders, pretzels, peanuts, packaged candy, and cinnamon-glazed nuts, but they also throw in a bunch of less commonly found items, such as turkey legs, ham & cheese sliders, tacos, grilled paninis, po’ boys, and even Elote (Mexican corn in a cup). But in addition to the main stands, you also can visit any of the multiple food trucks brought in for the Frisco Bowl, and try such delicacies as Texas steak sandwiches, quesadillas, brisket, and pizza, just to name a few. Food prices at both the regular stands and the food trucks start at $3 for the smallest item, and max out at $11 for the largest ones.
The drink selection at Toyota Stadium during the Frisco Bowl is as varied as the food selection, with plenty of alcohol on tap, ranging from both canned and draft beer to wine and high end specialty cocktails – you may need to wander around the stadium a bit, however, depending on what you are in the mood for, as the specialty cocktails tend to be sold on the east side of the stadium. Alcohol pricing starts at $7 for wine, and goes all the way up to $18 for the fanciest cocktails.
Non-alcohol selections include the basics, such as bottled water, soda, Gatorade, and hot cocoa, as well as that classic Texas favorite, Snapple tea (sweet or unsweet both available) – prices for all of these run $4 to $6.
Because Toyota Stadium is relatively small, the venue feels fairly full during the Frisco Bowl. You are also really, really close to the field, so you have a fantastic view of the action – better in fact, probably, than when you see your team play at home (depending of course on the participating school).
Toyota Stadium is also relatively new, and being a pro stadium (albeit a soccer one), all of the seats are chairbacks, so you don’t have to worry about sitting on any cold metal bleachers. But the best thing about the facility is actually the sound system – even if you are clear on the other end of the field, you can still hear the announcer loud and clear (perhaps the volume is even too loud).
Frisco, Texas is about 30 miles north of Dallas, and is a nice city of approximately 165K. As such, you can be sure to find plenty of shopping and restaurants, hotels, and plenty of green spaces if you happen to be a nature lover.
In terms of dining, most of the nicer restaurants in Frisco are about 5 miles south of Toyota Stadium along the Sam Rayburn Tollway, but there are a couple of great options close to the stadium, such as Woody’s Sports Restaurant and Tupy’s, a mainstay for Mexican cuisine (which should always be on the menu when in the Lone Star State).
If you plan to be in town for the day or weekend, probably the most well-known attraction in Frisco is the National Videogame Museum, which features a huge collection of game consoles, all of which are playable, including a classic video game arcade – the museum even has a wall-sized version of Pong. But if video games are not your thing, you can always visit one of the many parks in town, such as Grand Park, which is the largest, and the closest to Toyota Stadium.
The closest hotel to Toyota Stadium is Comfort Suites, but there are plenty of other options, most of them being a few miles south along the aforementioned Sam Rayburn Tollway.
During the Frisco Bowl, Toyota Stadium only has seating along the two sidelines – the north end zone’s small section of seats is reserved for the two bands, and the seating on the south end is covered with tarps and not sold. This reduces the capacity to around 14K, and even though officially the inaugural game may have been a sellout, there were a lot of empty seats. Hence, my assertion earlier that this size venue may be the perfect choice for a bowl game of this caliber.
Bands in End Zone, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
The fans in attendance though were solid – very loud, and really engaged in the game. The holiday atmosphere was evident based on the festive clothing worn by many, and the fans really seemed excited to be there, to see their teams play one last time.
Frisco, Texas is a nice town, about 30 miles north of Dallas. But while driving around Frisco may be okay, make no mistake, driving around Dallas is pretty horrific. That said, especially if you fly in for the game (either to Love Field or DFW), you will likely have to drive through some fairly heavy traffic to get to Toyota Stadium, and it will probably be rush hour traffic too, as the Frisco Bowl is played at 7 pm on a weeknight. In addition, the game is slated just a few days before Christmas, so the airports could potentially be rough as well.
However, except for traffic, the access at Toyota Stadium during the Frisco Bowl is absolutely smooth sailing. You can park right across the street from the facility for $20, even if you get there 5 minutes before kickoff, and getting around the small facility is a breeze – no lines for concessions except at the most popular food trucks, plenty of clean restrooms, and your choice of seats, since it won’t be that full.
Return on Investment 4
The Frisco Bowl at Toyota Stadium is a great bowl game to go to, especially if your team is playing there. Tickets start at about $40, which is reasonable for bowl games, although you may be able to get them cheaper (or not) from third-party sellers.
In my opinion the small size of the venue is a plus, since that makes it so much easier to navigate, although football purists may prefer a bigger, louder, higher energy stadium with a lot more atmosphere. The biggest downside for me was simply dealing with the traffic around Dallas, but the game day experience at the Frisco Bowl itself was exceptional.
The Frisco Bowl used to be the Miami Beach Bowl, which was run by the American Athletic Conference. The rights to the game were recently purchased by ESPN Events, who moved the game to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, which I think was a great call.
I can’t say enough about the concessions here – having all those food trucks on site really ups the ante when it comes to eating at the game. The food here is so much better than the typical boring stadium concessions.
Also, props to the AV crew here at the Frisco Bowl, for doing such a phenomenal job with the sound system and announcing.
Having the National Videogame Museum so close by is also a major plus – what a great attraction to give fans an excuse to make the trip!
One of the earliest bowl games of the year, the Frisco Bowl may be seen by some to be a little subpar. However, with its location in a modern, professional stadium with lots of amenities, great concessions, and near a great city like Dallas, this bowl game is well worth a visit. If you have the chance, definitely head out to Texas next year for the match-up – you won’t regret it.