Toyota Stadium - FC Dallas
Photos by Eric Moreno and Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Toyota Stadium 9200 World Cup Way Frisco, TX 75034
Year Opened: 2005
Toyota Stadium Gives FC Dallas Home Pitch Advantage
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is one of the most vibrant urban areas in the entire United States. For sports fans, it does not get any better as the region is home to all five major American sports leagues, including FC Dallas of Major League Soccer. One of the league’s charter franchises (originally known as the Dallas Burn), FC Dallas were founded by and are currently owned by Hunt Sports Group – the same ownership group behind the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
The team has won the Western Division three times, including most recently in 2016. They have done all of this winning from within the friendly confines of Toyota Stadium. The facilities are regarded as one of the best in all of MLS and for good reason. Deep in the heart of Texas is a true gem for soccer fans.
Food & Beverage 4
If there is one thing that Texas does well, especially at sporting events, and that’s food. Toyota Stadium has got the food scene locked down. There is literally something for everyone’s tastes. All concessions are located on the main concourse level. The Lone Star Café offers your traditional fare: hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, candy, etc. Most of the concession items can be had for $5-$9. A standard hot dog is $5 and a large soda in a souvenir cup is $7 (with $2 refills throughout the game); this is pretty standard for major league sports.
Where Toyota Stadium excels is in their specialty concession items and attractions. On the main concourse are three fan friendly bar-type areas. The Toyota Terrace, Big Kick Bar, and Budweiser Beer Garden are great venues to get an adult beverage and catch the game action. If you are looking for grub, the Urban Crust pop up trailer near the main entrance has a great – albeit pared down version – of their popular menu. You can get artisan personal pizzas for $10. It is arguably the most popular eating venue in the stadium, so you can expect a wait.
Also found in near the east gate is the Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dogs stand. Fletcher’s takes pride in being the originators of the corn dog and offers them each year at the Texas State Fair. I would recommend making a visit to their stand if you attend a game at Toyota Stadium. One more interesting wrinkle in the food scene to mention. There is a Chef’s Corner stand along the east concourse area that is unlike anything I have seen at a sporting venue. Each game, the resident chef prepares what amounts to a gourmet meal for $12. The menu changes for each game, but by all accounts, this is a meal you could get a five-star restaurant.
FC Dallas does a tremendous job of fostering an almost European-like atmosphere (meaning there is a ton of energy in the crowd) for their matches. The parking lots are full of tailgaters and that attitude is fostered by Lamar’s Tailgate, which takes place at the north concourse near the main gate. This is everything you know a tailgate to be, complete with music, cheerleaders, food, and drinks. It closes out with a celebrity placing an FC Dallas scarf around the neck of a statue of the late Lamar Hunt, patron saint of sports in the Dallas area.
During matches, the patios are great vantage points to see the action in the shade. This is important, trust me. If you can, you should spend some time in these areas to escape the heat. Toyota Stadium is an outdoor venue, but Texas gets hot – especially during the summer months, so keep this in mind.
Like many sporting clubs, FC Dallas a lot of ancillary attractions that add to the overall stadium going experience. There is a drum corps that play nonstop throughout the match, FCDrum. There are cheerleaders, the FC Dallas Girls, and there are even in stadium DJ’s, the Bass Junkies. All of these combine to make the game-watching experience truly memorable in Frisco.
Drum Line at Toyota Stadium, Photo by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Frisco, like many of the other communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, has become something of a boomtown. Anything you could want in terms of shopping, dining, and hotels is here in Frisco. And, if for some reason you cannot find it, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Plano, Grandview, etc. are all within an hour’s drive.
The city is rife with other sporting opportunities if you come to an FC Dallas game at the right time of year. Chief among them are the Dallas Cowboys; the five-time Super Bowl champions have built their practice facilities in Frisco. The Star in Frisco is an amazing facility and they do allow tours year-round.
One more highlight in Frisco proper needs to be mentioned. In an unassuming multipurpose building is the home of the National Videogame Museum. If you have ever picked up a game controller, plunked down a quarter at your local arcade, or engaged in any online questing, you have to make a pilgrimage. The museum tells the story of how games were developed, has a collection of every game console ever (and all are playable), and has a classic video game arcade. The highlight is a wall-sized version of the classic game Pong.
The Dallas-Fort Worth is highly underrated as a “sports town.” The fans are loyal and they turn out in droves, especially when they have a winner on their hands. However, this has not always translated over into soccer. FC Dallas ranked last in the league in attendance in 2016, even in the midst of a very successful season. It might be a case of there just being too much going on in the Big D. Attentions can be easily divided with all that goes on there.
However, the fans that do turn out are extremely loyal, passionate, and knowledgeable about the game. There is a ton of tailgating, as already mentioned. The fans come early and come steadily throughout the first half. They wear their team colors and team scarves (even in the triple-digit heat) and they chant the entire time. There are also several fan clubs that have their own sections in Toyota Stadium. It’s not too hard to imagine more and more sellouts as the team’s success continues.
Frisco is easily accessible from any part of the metroplex and is located right off of the Dallas North Tollway. Again, you can get to it from any part of the Metroplex in an hour’s time.
Frisco is also just over 5 hours from San Antonio and Austin and just under 4 hours from Houston. The famous (or maybe infamous) DFW Airport has flights coming in from all over the country all hours of the day if you get the urge to come to a visit that way.
At Toyota Stadium, there is ample parking in the lots designated for the matches; as an added bonus, parking is free.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets for FC Dallas are very much on par with the rest of MLS’s prices. General admission seats can be had for around $25 per seat. This with the standard prices for concessions – this could mean you need to do some planning to attend a game, especially if you are bringing the family. However, considering the parking is free along with all the attractions and on-field action more than make up for the cost.
I’ve mentioned a lot of the extras that are offered at Toyota Stadium. The tailgate prior to the start of the match, drummers, the DJs, the cheerleaders, the fan clubs, the patio bars, even the corny dogs, all make for truly special game experience.
As with any sports franchise worth its salt, FC Dallas has its own mascot to interact with and delight the fans. Tex Hooper is an anthropomorphized Texas steer in a soccer kit. He walks through the crowd taking photos with fans – especially kids – and takes part in on-field ceremonies. He isn’t hard to spot and is a great photo op for fans of all ages.
Despite the often-oppressive heat, the game experience at Toyota Stadium is truly something special. For MLS fans, soccer fans, or even novices looking to dip their toes into the hullaballoo that is the “beautiful game,” the opportunity to attend an FC Dallas game at Toyota Stadium should not be passed up. You will enjoy yourself.
Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477.