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Dallas Gets Its Wings, But ‘Project X’ Still Hovers

The City Council last week made a big move to lure the Dallas Wings away from Arlington. But the private matter about recruiting or retaining a pro sports team is still lingering at City Hall.
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This scene will soon be playing out in Dallas, not Arlington. And the City Council is still discussing an unnamed pro sports team's future in the city. Mary Adger Bowen

The mysterious “Project X,” which involves city council members figuring out how to retain or recruit an unnamed pro sports team, is still floating around Dallas City Hall.

We thought this was a settled matter after sports mayor’s big win last week. The City Council unanimously approved a $19 million deal to rehab the old Memorial Auditorium to lure the Dallas Wings from Arlington. But this, apparently, was not Project X. Or there’s a new Project X. Hard to say. Attorneys are involved, and the official discussions are happening in private. (“Executive session” is a real buzzkill.)

The Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Sports Recruitment and Retention will be back in session on Wednesday, and, once again, the only item on the agenda involves discussing “commercial or financial information that the city has received from a business prospect (“Project X”) that the city seeks to have locate, stay or expand in or near the City of Dallas and with which the City is conducting economic development negotiations; and deliberate the offer of a financial or other incentive in connection with Project X.”

Councilmember Paula Blackmon, one of the seven committee members, tells me it is “another project” separate from the Wings. She wouldn’t comment further. Councilmember Jaynie Schultz, another committee member, says, “I honestly don’t know.”

Let’s get to speculating.

FC Dallas feels entrenched in Frisco, given its sprawling youth soccer operation plus the National Soccer Hall of Fame attaching itself to Toyota Stadium. But the MLS is rarely shy about expansion, so perhaps Dallas could follow New York and Los Angeles’ lead by adding a second franchise closer to the city center to complement its longer-standing team out in the suburbs.

Speaking of soccer, FC Dallas co-owner Clark Hunt also owns the Kansas City Chiefs, who are apparently looking at stadium options beyond Arrowhead after voters rejected using sales tax revenue to pay for improvements. Mayor Eric Johnson enjoys posting to X (X’ing?) about this matter, and on Saturday once again made reference to the team’s origin as the Dallas Texans. That seems like a long shot, considering Jerry Jones’ influence within NFL ownership circles.

And then there’s the Dallas Mavericks, whose lease at the American Airlines Center expires in 2031. Its new majority owners, the Adelson and Dumont casino families, have purchased land in Irving and there’s plenty of nerves about the team’s future in Dallas proper.

It’ll be some time before we learn what is being discussed around this “Project X.” So who knows? Maybe one pro cricket league isn’t enough, and this is about scooping Major League Cricket.

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Matt Goodman

Matt Goodman

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Matt Goodman is the online editorial director for D Magazine. He's written about a surgeon who killed, a man who…
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