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Wendy Reuer, Published January 07 2013

For Frisco, Bison crowd takes backseat to Jimmy Buffett

FRISCO, Texas – When it comes to spending money here, North Dakota State University football fans have nothing on Parrotheads.

Saturday’s Division I Football Championship title game attracted a sold-out crowd of 21,411 to the FC Dallas Stadium, more than 60 percent of them Bison fans.

Frisco leaders believe the game and surrounding activities had a $5.9 million economic impact on the region, matching what was generated last year.

Yet in terms of economic impact, the title game comes in second.

A Jimmy Buffett concert is No. 1 for Frisco.

Marla Roe, executive director of the Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the concert usually generates about $10 million in economic impact. About 28,000 Parrotheads – as Buffett fans are known – flock to the single concert at FS Dallas Stadium, where the Bison beat Sam Houston State University for a national championship.

Although final economic impact numbers are not tabulated, Roe said she is confident the game generated the projected $5.9 million.

Denise Stokes, a communications manager for the visitors bureau, said the economic impact of the Buffet concert is mostly generated by tailgaters. Parrotheads are allowed to set up shop on Friday morning and stay until Sunday. Some don’t even attend the Saturday concert, she said.

Roe said the stadium’s parking lots become a sea of RVs over the concert weekend, with fans producing elaborate tiki bar tailgating set-ups that stretch around the stadium.

Tailgating was allowed at Saturday’s game, but divided into two areas for fans of each school.

Roe admits NDSU backers appeared to outnumber those on the Bearkat side.

Economic impact projections for the title game were based on a number of factors such as hotel stays, the number of out-of-state visitors, game attendance and bureau formulas for spending, Roe said.

This was the third year Frisco has hosted a title game. Before 2011, the title game was held in Tennessee for about 13 years.

Roe said only about 13,500 attended the 2011 game in which Eastern Washington University defeated the University of Delaware. She said the lackluster numbers likely were due in part to a new location and different fan bases.

Jimmy Buffett hosted an annual concert in Frisco for several years before moving to Dallas in 2012. The concert will return to Frisco this year.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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