The WNBA team Tulsa Shock is moving into the metroplex with a new name — the Dallas Wings.
The team joins the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers as the third professional sports franchise based in Arlington. The Wings will play at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College Park Center, with its season debut scheduled for May 16, 2016.
The team held a press conference at College Park Center on Nov. 1, revealing its new name and logo featuring a blue and yellow Pegasus.
“What’s a distinction of the Pegasus are those powerful wings that give it its energy and its lift,” said David Swatzell, president and CEO of the Dallas Wings. “It’s those powerful wings that ultimately personify what our team is all about and we want to be, which is an inspirational force.”
The team opted to use Dallas for the name as opposed to Arlington because of Dallas’s notoriety, and also to keep in line with sports franchises that already use the Dallas name, such as the Dallas Cowboys, Swatzell said.
“If you’re going to go drive a successful professional sports franchise, you have to lean into the brand that basically conveys success in the marketplace,” he said. “There’s no question that Dallas is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to that. It’s internationally known.”
Although the team uses Dallas’s name, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said fans are used to coming to Arlington for sporting events.
“They’re also used to coming here for family fun,” he said. “That’s what the WNBA is all about, so we’re very excited that they chose Arlington to be their home.”
While it would be difficult to quantify the economic impact a WNBA team will bring to the city, sports teams in general generate spending as fans eat in restaurants, stay in hotels and shop around the area, said Bruce Payne, economic development manager of City of Arlington.
Sports teams also help advertise a city, which can attract tourists, Payne said.
“It puts us on television a great deal in a way that would be impossible to pay for if we were just buying advertising,” he said. “You can’t watch a Cowboys game without hearing Arlington, Texas, and same is true with the Rangers. Hopefully these WNBA games would be televised on specific channels and, again, you’d hear the word getting out. That’s great stuff.”
In July, majority owner Bill Cameron announced that Tulsa Shock would be moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The franchise had spent the last six years in Tulsa.
According to a July letter Cameron sent to Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, the decision to move Tulsa Shock was “driven by economic realities,” as the team had been experiencing “consecutive years of operating losses since starting in play in Tulsa.”
In August, the UT Board of Regents voted to approve the lease allowing a WNBA team to use College Park Center. The team agreed to pay $15,000 per game to use the facility.
The Shock went 18-16 in the 2015 season. The team made it to conference semifinals but ultimately lost to the Phoenix Mercury.
Texas native Chris Christian, a songwriter/record producer and entertainment executive with CC Entertainment LLC, will serve as vice chairman and managing partner for the Dallas Wings.