This is a discussion for "saving" the Superdrome. Please keep that goal in mind at ALL times, and keep the discussion civil and constructive. Thanks!
About a year ago, I met with several key people regarding potentially taking over the Superdrome. We wanted to wait and see how the year went, and if anything improved from a participation, program, or management standpoint. Unfortunately, nothing improved. In October, I learned that Tim was stepping down, so I went into action. I created an Advisory Board that consisted of:
Doug Clark - CEO, DesignVR
Doug Evans - Director, Alkek Velodrome
Bob Francis - CEO, Foundation for American Track Cycling
Craig Peterson / Michael Gacki – General Manager / Manager, Bicycles Plus
Andrew Levi - CEO, Blue Calypso
Chad Plumlee - Owner, Cadence Cyclery
Woody Smith - Owner, Richardson Bike Mart
Lee Whaley - Director, Visit Dallas / DNA Racing Professional Women's Team
I had reached out to a few other people, but did not get timely responses, and we needed to act quickly.
There were several purposes of the Advisory Board. Among them being to help unify the cycling community, and to create a transparency that has been lacking at the Superdrome. It would also help create accountability, increase sponsorship and participation, etc.
I began meeting and talking with people within the City, the College, USAC, and the cycling community as a whole. I worked on budget, programs, sponsorships, and every aspect of the Business Plan. Everyone I spoke with was very positive and excited. The plan is to bring value to both the City AND the College.
In 2000, Collin College Cycling Team won the National Championships in the Team Pursuit. Jeff Labauve also won the Sprints and the Kilo. To my knowledge, these are the ONLY National Championships won by Collin College in any sport. The Superdrome was used for academic purposes as a creative and innovative tool.
The Superdrome SHOULD be a crown jewel for Collin College. It should make good business sense to be a partner. Unfortunately, the prior President at the College decided to use the Superdrome as a weapon with the City when he couldn’t get his way cooperatively. He systematically dissolved the cycling team, and removed the use of the facility from all academic programs.
The Superdrome would fit in great with Collin College’s Academic Programs: Engineering program, Advertising / Public Relations program, Broadcasting program, Computer Science programs, etc. It would also create great opportunities within their Workforce Programs: Emergency Medical Services Professions, Geospatial Informational Science, Graphic Design, Hospitality Management, Marketing, Photography, Video Production, and Welding are just a few examples.
We used a creative “university theme” for the programs at the Superdrome. “Superdrome 101” was the beginner’s class. That got renamed the “Devo Class”. We had an amazing “Superdrome University” series that had World Cup Champions teaching more advanced classes. That program went away completely. Superdrome Elementary (bicycle safety rodeos), Superdrome High, and Superdrome Scouting also all disappeared.
When I created the Frisco Cycling Club and took over the Superdrome, it was a unique concept. Nobody else had taken a private cycling club and assumed responsibility for a multimillion dollar facility. Increasingly, this has become a template that is being used around the world. Many velodromes have been saved from destruction using the same business model. Unfortunately, after I left, this was dismantled by the current management.
Interestingly, Marion College has also taken over the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis with great success, inspired by our model. Every major university in the country has a cycling team, especially the more prestigious school. Yale. Harvard. The Service Academies. The University of Texas. Texas A&M. The photo USA Cycling uses for Collegiate Cycling is of the MIT Cycling Team at the Superdrome on Collin College.
In addition, the Superdrome needs to make financial sense to the City. A major part of the initial purpose was to bring economic impact to Frisco. This happens on multiple levels. First, major national events, such as the National Championships, which has not happened in several years. The Superdrome should be in the rotation at least every other year to host a National Championship, and doing so is a part of my plan. This fills hotel rooms and restaurants. Second is the daily utilization of the Superdrome. It should be open nearly all day, every day. This brings people from around the metroplex into Frisco, where they buy gas, snacks, dine at restaurants, etc. As people utilized the Superdrome, many will decide Frisco is an attractive place to live, and move to the city. Additionally, we need to stop depleting principle of the Superdrome Fund, so that Superdrome has funding from outside sources. This would come from sponsorships, donations, partnerships and user fees.
On Sunday, December 10th, I met with Bill Woodard of the Frisco City Council. For those that don't know Bill, he is very passionate about cycling, and was until recently the President of the Shawnee Trail Cycling Club. He has been a great advocate for cycling in Frisco. He informed me at that time that the College had notified the City earlier in the week that they were not going to renew any management contracts for the Superdrome. He explained that the College had recently passed a $600,000,000 bond package for an aggressive expansion plan. The Superdrome did not fit into that plan. He then stated that the intention for the remainder of the settlement money from EDS was to go to other cycling programs within the City of Frisco.
1. The Board of Trustees at the College has not voted on this. I would expect that they must formally vote on this to make it legal.
2. The City Council has not voted on this, either.
Because of that, the path to saving the Superdrome lies within those two groups. I am currently working with people within both the College and the City to let them see that there are options, potential, and a future.
The goal is to keep the Superdrome opened. While I have a comprehensive plan, I’d like to hear ideas, thoughts, and opinions from everyone else. We need a creative and comprehensive plan that is unified. Having multiple factions and multiple parties working against each other will be the final nail in the coffin for the Superdrome.
Wide open discussion of all things track racing
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