"There's not a bad seat in the house," Jimmy Smith, FC Dallas' chief operating officer and chief financial officer, told Local Profile during a recent Toyota Stadium visit. He's right. There's not.
Opened in 2005, Toyota Stadium was the third stadium built for Major League Soccer. It's one of the oldest in the league. It now seems like professional sports teams are quick to renovate or raze, Local Profile asked Smith if either was planned for the home of FC Dallas.
"Although you always hear about the new shiny toy, I do think there are many examples of stadiums that are maintained and are updated,” said Smith. "And that, I think, is the biggest part." There have already been updates to Toyota Stadium, such as the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which opened at the stadium in 2018.
But what would further Toyota Stadium updates or renovations look like?
"The way that the stadium was built — to go down — enables us to go up," explained Smith, who added that when the stadium's west side was updated, a club and new video boards were added. "We are looking to do something similar on the east side."
Right now, the west side has suites, but the east side only has uncovered spectator seats. “We have that demand now, so adding more suites is something that we would definitely want to do,” said Smith.
Does that mean another level will be built or what? "Right now, we are still early in designs," said Smith. "And we are listening to our fans. The biggest thing here is shade and protection against the elements, whether that is rain or sun. So, I think that will be a focal point of it."
"For me," Smith continued, "there are two ways to do it: One is shade above your head, and the other is having a place fans can go to, whether it's a club or a beer or food hall type thing." That way, fans can still escape to a covered, air-conditioned space. Sun might not be a major concern, considering that, this year, at least, FC Dallas is playing its games at night.
Local Profile also asked if there were plans for more shops or restaurants. "Through our lease agreement with the city or through outright ownership of land in and around the stadium, that has always been the plan for when the market was right," said Smith. There were discussions pre-COVID-19 that were paused. But according to Smith, "Those are still on our list to develop in and around the stadium." The comparison of what to perhaps expect was something like Wrigleyville.
"For me, I think the time is right," said Smith. "One, the growth you see in Collin County is much different now than it was five to ten years ago. And then with the World Cup coming, now is the right time to start looking at those developments."
But just because the World Cup is coming to North Texas, that doesn't mean any renovations must happen before then.
"We want to do it in a smart way," said Smith. "I think there will be development, but I don't think that is going to be the sole driving force. We will ask if it makes sense to have, whether that's an office building, a hotel or retail. But I do think that is a big factor."